Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy

Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s wonderfully bizarre blendings of nature and humankind, incorporating natural forms like vegetables, twigs and leaves as well as fish and other small animals in the representation of human faces, can still “turn heads” today, as they must have in the 16th Century.

Largely forgotten shortly after his death and re-discovered in the 20th Century, Arcimboldo is the subject of a new exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy includes sixteen examples of his work, seen here in the U.S. for the first time. The exhibition also includes drawings by Da Vinci and Durer, along with other works intended to provide context for the paintings.

His hallucinatory arrangements of images within a larger image delighted the Surrealists, who saw in him a precursor to their dream inspired visions. His “still life” paintings (done at a time when still life was not an accepted genre) that only revealed their human face when inverted, have entered pop culture in the form of countless “optical illusion” variations on the theme.

The National Gallery has provided a very nice PDF Exhibition Brochure, that can be downloaded from the right hand column of the exhibition page, as well as a short video.

Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy will be on view until January 9, 2011.

For more, see my previous post on Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

[Via Art Daily]

8 Replies to “Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy”

  1. How interesting – 1500’s and this guy is doing something this wild and fantasy oriented. Never heard of Arcimboldo, but thank you for the intro. I will definitely read more about him.

    These did put me off veggies, though.

  2. Giuseppe Arcimboldo / Arcimboldi was born in Milan during 1527 and died in 1593. Influenced by the Age of Exploration, Arcimboldo was well known and revered for creating caricature portrait heads of emperors and their courtiers. The heads and busts were made from objects such as vegetables, fruit, fish, books, tree roots and flowers. Arcimboldo painted representations of these objects onto canvases so that the whole collection of objects resembled a particular person – a portrait subject. Arcimboldo’s best known works included: The Librarian (1566) Vertumnus (1590 – 1591) and Flora (1591). This film is narrated by Isabella Rossellini and investigates Acimboldo’s colorful life as a court painter, a depicter of nature and a festival creator. The DVD can be purchased through Microcinema International – Arcimboldo.

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