Giuseppe Arcimboldo, an Italian artist from the 16th century, was not only creative in his work but also way ahead of his time. He used drawings of vegetables, fruits, flowers, leaves, books, fish on a canvas in such a manner that the whole arrangement of these items created beautiful portraits.
You can keep gazing at his work and be amazed at how he’s made grapes look like hair, or apples representing cheeks, or potato used as the nose, quite fascinating!
Archimboldo was often referred to as the ‘Father of Surrealism’, because his paintings had the element of oddness around them and at the same time he had an innovative style that probably set him apart from other artists during the Renaissance period.
Here are few samples of his paintings. This one depicts the coming of winter, the head is made from an old tree with two lemons that act like a clasp for the cloak.
Another painting based on the four seasons is called ‘Autumn’ made from potatoes, grapes, carrots etc., I like the way he has shown the beard and moustache with some kind of fern. Elements of nature form an important part in his paintings. This one is called Water, and doesn’t it look a bit creepy, made from 60 species of marine life, like seals, turtles, sharks, crabs, oysters and coral. Arcimboldo was certainly imaginative!
Apart from making bizarre portraiture, Arcimboldo was also a court painter and an imperial art director to several Italian emperors, he used to paint sets for court festivals and design costumes etc for the royals.
One of his classic paintings is ‘The Vegetable Gardener’, the first image is a bowl filled with vegetables but turn it upside down and it becomes a portrait.
Arcimboldo’s work reminded me of Carl Warner’s photography, where he used real food to make landscape images, although from a different era and stature, its a delectable treat, nevertheless.