Giuseppe Arcimboldo Biography
(1527 in Milan, Italy - 1593) was a distinctive and eccentric painter who is best known for creating portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruit or vegetables or flowers, or fish, or inanimate objects such as 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 subjects.
In 1562 he became the court portraitist to Maximilian II at the Habsburg court in Vienna, and later, to his son Rudolf II, both of whom seem to have much liked Arcimboldo"s paintings.
He was also the court decorator, costume designer, and general art expert. His style of early pre-surrealist portraiture was much copied by his contemporaries, making it difficult at times to differentiate his painting from that of imitators. Ironically, given the fame of the imaginary portraits, Arcimboldo"s conventional work has been all but forgotten.
One can find the Arcimboldo"s paintings in Vienna"s Kunsthistorisches Museum and in the Habsburg Schloss Amras in Innsbruck, as well as the Louvre in France. In Italy, Arcimboldo paintings are in Cremona, Brescia, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, also contains his paintings.