Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian Renaissance painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books — that is, he painted representations of these objects on the canvas arranged in such a way that the whole collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. This work is just magnificent!
"Renaissance Mannerist — Giuseppe Arcimboldo, (also spelled Arcimboldi), royal painter and imperial party planner to sixteenth-century Italian emperors; Ferdinand I, Maximilian II, and Rudolf II.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born in 1527 and grew up during the High Renaissance. A natural artistic talent landed him a coveted spot as student to the renowned painter Leonardo Da Vinci. Later Arcimboldo accepted a position as Royal Painter in the imperial court. Arcimboldo faithfully served the court for the next 25 years.
Part of Arcimboldo's duties included designing gala events for the imperial family. These were flashy affairs with gilded fountains and rivers of champagne, parades and promenades, flocks of colored birds, music, theater, tons of original artwork, sculptures, and much pageantry. Giuseppe invented many unique special effects for these events such as a enormous hydro-mechanically powered musical instrument which acted like a modern color organ. Arcimboldo called it the "Harpsichord of Color."
Among the services Arcimboldo performed for the Court included the task of producing an endless series of portraits for the imperial family and other heads of state. Since there were no copy or print machines in the sixteenth century every portrait had to be duplicated by hand. It was during these endless hours spent in his studio that Arcimboldo invented the style of painting that would forever separate him from the other painters of the day.
The Composite Head. Giuseppe began to paint tongue-in-cheek portraits of people with rendered clumps of mammals, fish, vegetables and other natural objects. Instead of a nose Arcimboldo uses an elephant to form the shape, instead of an ear, a pelican or alligator, instead of a mouth he uses the shape of a ripe vegetable. His whimsical "composite head" paintings were the hit of his day, and continue to delight art lovers in every generation." sandlotscience