~Vertumnus, Giuseppe Arcimboldo (Oil on wood. Skoklosters Slott, Balsta, Sweden, 1590-1591)~
How have I missed these?
A truly delightful thing about this world is how there is a lifetime of new things out there, waiting to be discovered. And I suppose that this sense of discovery is in the eye of the beholder, which is even better - something that has been out there all along, something that I had previously not noticed - lying in the open, waiting to be seen.
This site includes many of his other paintings - all wonderful.
~Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Self-Portrait. c.1575. Blue pen-and-wash drawing. Narodni Gallery, Prague, Chechia~
So of course this got me to thinking about this man named Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and of course Vertumnus - the god of seasons, change and plant growth, gardens and fruit trees.
I need to learn more. Much more.
From: Potter P. The extraordinary nature of illusion. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2008 Nov [date cited].
"Look at the apple and the peach—/Round, red, and fresh—/That form both cheeks;/Turn your mind to my eyes—/One is a cherry,/The other a red mulberry," exclaimed Vertumnus in Comanini's poem, as if surprised by his own fantastic appearance. Composite creatures have fascinated throughout the ages. Hellenic mythology proposed Chimera, which appeared on pottery 2,500 years ago and was described by Homer in the Iliad (Book VI) as "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out of breath of the terrible flame of bright fire."
A tempting metaphor, Chimera has been adopted by many civilizations and, more recently, by various disciplines, among them genetics, molecular biology, and virology. Composites abound in nature. Those in the microbial world have gained notoriety in the face of emerging disease, one that Arcimboldi would have delighted in immortalizing. For this complex illusion, instead of fruits or flowers, he would have portrayed MRSA, avian influenza (H5N1), West Nile virus, E. coli O157:H7, and other hallmarks of emergence: ordinary parts rearranged in a new context. Its specter would have gone beyond astonishment to other common reactions evoked by the master's unpredictable work: unease and foreboding.
I love the idea of another Renaissance, of a new artist-scientist emerging like Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
~The Vegetable Gardener, c.1590. Oil on wood. Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Cremona, Italy~
I have a feeling that I'll report back regarding this guy.
(And while you're at it, take a look here. Kinda fun).