Arcimboldo, Giuseppe


Arcimboldo, Giuseppe
born с 1527, Milan
died 1593, Milan

Italian painter.

He began his career as a painter and designer of stained-glass windows for Milan Cathedral. In 1562 he moved to Prague and became court painter to the emperors Ferdinand I and Rudolf II. He also painted scenery for the court theatre and became skillful at illusionistic imagery containing allegorical meanings, puns, and jokes. He is known for his eccentric and grotesque Mannerist compositions of fruits, vegetables, animals, landscapes, and implements arranged to resemble human forms. The style was regarded as being in poor taste until the Surrealists revived the art of visual punning in the 1920s.

"Summer," painting on canvas by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1563; in the Kunsthistorisches ...

By courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; photograph, Erwin Meyer

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▪ Italian painter
Arcimboldo also spelled  Arcimboldi  
born c. 1527, Milan [Italy]
died 1593, Milan
 Italian Mannerist painter whose grotesque compositions of fruits, vegetables, animals, books, and other objects were arranged to resemble human portraits. In the 20th century these double images were greatly admired by Salvador Dali and other Surrealist painters.

      Beginning his career as a cartoon designer of stained-glass windows for the Milan Cathedral, Arcimboldo moved to Prague, where he became one of the favourite court painters to the Habsburg rulers Maximilian II and Rudolph II. He also painted settings for the court theatre there and developed an expertise for illusionistic trickery. His paintings contained allegorical meanings, puns, and jokes that were appreciated by his contemporaries but lost upon audiences of a later date. His eccentric vision is epitomized in his portraits “Summer” and “Winter” (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

Additional Reading
Roland Barthes, Arcimboldo (1980, originally published in French, 1978).

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