Giuseppe Arcimboldo (also spelled Arcimboldi) (1526 or 1527 - July 11, 1593) was an Italian 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.
His father, Biagio Arcimboldo, was an artist. Like his father, Giuseppe Arcimboldo started his career as a designer for stained glass and frescoes at local cathedrals when he was 21 years old.
In 1562, he became court portraitist to Ferdinand I at the Habsburg court in Vienna, and later, to Maximilian II and his son Rudolf II at the court in Prague. He was also the court decorator and costume designer. King Augustus of Saxony, who visited Vienna in 1570 and 1573, saw Arcimboldo's work and commissioned a copy of his "The Four Seasons" which incorporates his own monarchic symbols.
Arcimboldo's conventional work, on traditional religious subjects, has fallen into oblivion, but his portraits of human heads made up of vegetables, plants, fruits, sea creatures and tree roots, were greatly admired by his contemporaries and remain a source of fascination today.
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