Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Archimboldo - April Fool's Day

Arcimboldo - Vertemnus (1591) - Skoklosters Slott Museum

Can there be any doubt that this is one of the most unique portraits in art history? Isn’t it bizarre! Seems appropriate for an April Fool’s day greeting… (be sure to click on the image to enlarge).

Did you notice the date in which it was created? Believe it or not, this is a portrait of king Rudolf II (Prague). He was Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s patron. Here Arcimboldo has represented all the major fruits and flowers of Europe as if they are all flourishing at the same time – a season of eternal spring – the Golden Age. (He actually did a whole series of paintings like this which he called ‘Seasons’ and ‘Elements’.)

Born to a wealthy Milanese family, Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a true Renaissance man. He was a painter, a draftsman and tapestry designer who also devised hydraulic machines and a musical notation system based on color, but these strange portraits are what he is most well known for today.

Gail Sauter - Journal: A Painter On Painting