can’t see the forest

Thanksgiving Mannerisms

Posted in art, autumn, culture, holidays, Italy, painting, renaissance, Thanksgiving by Curtis on 11/21/07

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A happy harvest season to you and yours—courtesy of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593), the Italian mannerist painter whose eccentric portraiture amused his patrons and enthralled later surrealists like Salvador Dali:

Arcimboldo Autumn

(Autumn from The Four Seasons, oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris.)

Born in Milan, Arcimboldo began painting and designing stained glass windows professionally in his early twenties. He later worked as court portraitist to the Holy Roman Emperors Maximillian II and Rudolf II.

He is remembered for a combination of eccentric, highly sophisticated humor and ingenuity, and meticulous attention to detail. Both of Arcimboldo’s Habsburg patrons as well as King Augustus of Saxony prized his work. He has been influential to later generations of artists, particularly in the 20th Century.

Many of his paintings contain witty symbolism which is frequently lost on modern audiences. While his technique of portraiture is novel to say the least, Arcimboldo was part of a larger trend to weirdness in the Italian mannerist art of the period, encouraged by a variety of prominent patrons.

You can view more of Arcimboldo’s bizzart here, for starters. But—since it is Thanksgiving—I can’t resist throwing in this gem, The Cook (which can also be viewed upside down, as shown):The Cook 1The Cook 2

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