Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Arcimboldo

My A-Z posts will focus on something near and dear to my heart - art. Each day I hope to have a bead embroidered letter (see above), and also have a short post about something artistic.  Chances are my art posts will contain a few pictures from an artist I find interesting, but I could also post a poem.  I really enjoy learning about art, and am grateful to be able to share some of these things with you.

When I first saw the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo on a postcard years ago I did a double take.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was so darn weird.  Here is drawing of the man that is my very first A to Z Challenge post. 

Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Self Portrait

He looks pretty normal I'd say.  However, this self portrait is not done in the same style as the majority of his surviving paintings.  The below looks like a pretty simple still life.  Something strange happens when you turn it upside down!


Arcimboldo painted many human heads made up of vegetables, plants, flowers, fruits, sea creatures, etc.  Having a fondness for books, the below is one of my favorites.  Each thing included in the painting has significance (in relation to the book culture of the time), including the animal tails which were used as dusters and make up the beard.

The Librarian, 1566.
 He completed a series called the Four Seasons and another called the Four Elements.

Water, 1566.  Part of the Four Elements.

The Summer, 1562.  Part of the Four Seasons.
If a modern artist produced these images they might not be considered so unusual.  However, Arcimboldo was painting in the 16th century, a few decades after the completion of a painting you may have heard of, the Mona Lisa.

Copyright Information.  All images are used with permission, are in the public domain, or constitute fair use policy in accordance with educational purposes.


  1. These are incredible ~ so unique and edgy and modern for today, let alone in the 1500s! I can tell it is going to be a fun month for your followers :-D
    Love those bugles in your A and the yellows inside it.

  2. Wow you're quite talented! And wow, Arcimboldo was, too! This is very interesting! Loved learning something new.

    A Deecoded Life

  3. Thank you for this illuminating look at a not-often-remembered artist. Arcimboldo made serious art with a whimsical thrust. His work irritated many contemporaries but has entertained generations of fans.

    My thanks also for your kind remarks on my "A Cappella" post. I look forward to more delightful posts from you.


  4. Wow that's fascinating! I never heard of him before. Those are some cool paintings!

  5. Lovely beading of the Letter 'A' and a very unique approach to the Challenge. I enjoyed the feature on Arcimboldo...an important artist of his time, and one so worthy of study today. Well done for the Letter A.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  6. My little girl has just been learning about Giuseppe's work at school, Cant wait to see more of your posts!

  7. Love Archimbaldo. Great topic!

  8. Thank you for visiting my blog so that I was able to find yours! These paintings are beautiful and so unique!

  9. What a fascinating artist, thanks for sharing! I'm not very 'well-read' when it comes to art so looking forward to following along with your favourites :)


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