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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Two for the price of One


Giuseppe Arcimboldo (c. 1527-1593)
Portrait with Vegetables (The Greengrocer),
A visual pun which can be turned upside down. c.1590.
Oil on wood.
Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Cremona, Italy
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Giuseppe Arcimboldo (c. 1527-1593)
Portrait with Vegetables (The Greengrocer), rotated 180 degrees
A visual pun which can be turned upside down. c.1590.
Oil on wood.
Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Cremona, Italy.



Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born into the family of a painter for Milan Cathedral in 1527. Together with his father, he was paid for designing several stained glass windows in the Cathedral. He carried on working for Milan Cathedral after his father’s death, until 1558. The only works in the Cathedral still extant are the windows of St Catherine of Alexandria.

In 1562, Giuseppe Arcimboldo became a court painter of Emperor Ferdinand I (Habsburg) and left for Vienna, then moved to Prague.

When Ferdinand I died, in 1564, and was succeeded by Emperor Maximilian II (1527-1576), Arcimboldo continued as his court artist. He also continued as Court painter under Emperor Rudolph II (1552-1612)

Although Giuseppe Arcimboldo was extremely famous during his lifetime, he was soon forgotten after his death.

The interest in his abstruse and fantastic pictures, of which we only have a very few originals, nowadays, revived only at the end of the 19th century.

He is now perhaps best and only known for his fantastic pictures.