The first time you see a painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, you probably don’t know what to make of it. It’s clearly some kind of joke, but what kind? When you discover that the artist emulated Leonardo Da Vinci, it seems even more puzzling. In Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy, which runs through January 9, 2011 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the puzzle of this puzzler in fruits, vegetables, small animals, and sometimes even aquatic life may not be solved, but we get a fuller picture of this strange picture-maker from the past. Arcimboldo loved to create series of works—the elements, even the seasons of the year—that spanned wholes in an assemblage of parts. This man for all seasons now enjoys a new season in modern times, perhaps where he belonged all along. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "A Man for All Seasons."
[Image: Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Vertumnus, c. 1590. Oil on panel; framed: 81 x 68 cm (31 7/8 x 26 3/4 in.); unframed: 68 x 56 cm (26 3/4 x 22 1/16 in.); Skokloster Castle, Skokloster.]
[Many thanks to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, for providing me with press materials and the image above from the exhibition Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy, which runs through January 9, 2011.]