Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Rudolf II of Habsburg as Vertumnus, 1590

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About the Artist

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian Mannerist painter who created ornate compositions of fruits, vegetables, animals, books, and other objects arranged to resemble human portraits. These works greatly inspired 20th century artist Salvador Dali and other Surrealist painters. Arcimboldo began his career as a cartoon designer of stained-glass windows for the Milan Cathedral. He later moved to Prague where he became one of the preferred court painters to the Habsburg rulers. During this time he also painted backdrops for the court theatre there and developed a talent for painting visual illusions. His eccentric paintings contained allegorical meanings, puns, and jokes exemplified in works like “Summer”.