The Art of Food – Visual Feasting w/Arcimboldo

Arcimboldo SummerArcimboldo Jurist

This post is compiled primarily from All quotes are from the article (link above.)

Humor, but with a twist of reality, botany and zoology: Arcimboldo’s shows skill and due diligence to his times and those disciplines. “Even seemingly pedantic botanical details bear out the theme of empire. Arcimboldo’s composites incorporated exotic specimens, such as corn and eggplant, which sophisticated viewers would recognize as rare cultivars from the New World and beyond, where so many European rulers hoped to extend their influence.” …Arcimboldo’s royal patron, was the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II…“Rudolf’s father, Maximilian II, the Hapsburg archduke and soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor, welcomed the painter in his Vienna court in the early 1560s. Arcimboldo remained with the Hapsburgs until 1587 and continued to paint for them after his return to Italy.”

Giuseppe Arcimboldo clearly had a playful side as well as his own method for whimsy! Check out the image below-the still-life, which was not a typical subject matter of his time. One way a basket with fruit…upside down an amazing head of fruit!Arcimboldo-Reversible-Head

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (also spelled Arcimboldi) (1527 – July 11, 1593) was an Italian painter. Today he is best known for creative and imaginative composite heads created from objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. He has some what of a resurgence of popularity in todays modern world.

“The first known composite heads were presented to Maximilian on New Year’s Day 1569. One set of paintings was called The Four Seasons, and the other—which included Earth, Water, Fire and Air—The Four Elements. The allegorical paintings are peppered with visual puns (Summer’s (see above) ear is an ear of corn) as well as references to the Hapsburgs. The nose and ear of Fire are made of fire strikers, one of the imperial family’s symbols. Winter wears a cloak monogrammed with an “M,” presumably for Maximilian, that resembles a garment the emperor actually owned.Earth features a lion skin, a reference to the mythological Hercules, to whom the Hapsburgs were at pains to trace their lineage. Many of the figures are crowned with tree branches, coral fragments or stag’s antlers. The paintings were meant to amuse, but they also symbolize “the majesty of the ruler, the copiousness of creation and the power of the ruling family over everything,” says Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, an art history professor at Princeton who is author of Arcimboldo:Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting. “In some ways it’s just humor, but the humor resolves itself in a serious way.”  — Abigail Tucker is the Smithsonian’s Magazine’s staff writer.   Read more:

Arcimboldo-Water: part of a set of paintings: Earth, Water, Fire and Air—The Four Elements

It is a very interesting article, I highly recommend it, click the link above, or here, and read the whole article. I think it will blow your socks off —think of him, his time and his work. Take a few minutes read and look, I promise it is worth it! Look closely and you will be amazed by the literal/visual puns and the truth of his work.

Saturday we are off to Hey Day at The Mass Audubon, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary. The Love Birds are pleased to be part of the PRINCETON ARTS SOCIETY & MASS. AUDUBON WACHUSETT MEADOW, 2012 Calendar called “The Nature of Art.” Starting Saturday the calendars will be for sale, and the center will be displaying the artwork featured in the calendar. I don’t know what month we are, we will see when the calendar is unveiled! My guess is February since they are holding hands and are called The Love Birds. What’s your guess?