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Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an outstanding painter and decorator from Milan, as well as a grandson of the Archbishop of Milan.
The artist lived in Italy of the 16th century and served the Habsburg dynasty in Bohemia and Austria, and during the reign of Ferdinand I in Vienna he was appointed portrait painter.
Later, when the throne was inherited by the eldest son of Ferdinand I - Maximilian, he became a court painter. He knew a lot about the benefits of products. He painted many paintings made from fruits and vegetables, from which he also created portraits of people.
This portrait depicts Emperor Rudolph II in the image of the god of the seasons and the earthly fruits of Vertumna, who was known in ancient Italy. Wertumn was the god of transformation, a metamorphosis of natural abundance.
This work by Giuseppe Arcimboldo is one of the most famous of all the portraits of this emperor, due to the fact that this portrait of the Italian artist represents Rudolph II in the image of the swirling god Vertumna from ancient Rome, which is composed of different berries, fruits and vegetables.
The painting “Vertumn” is a half-length portrait of the emperor composed of a variety of fruits and vegetables that embody the vegetation and gifts of nature. The emperor himself appreciated this painting and generously awarded the painter. The artist’s friend, scientist and writer Gregorio Camanini described this picture as follows: His eyes are like the star of Olympus, his chest is called air, his stomach is earth, his legs are abyss, and his clothes seemed to him woven from fruits and grass.
In the picture of this artist, fruits and vegetables allow to realize a certain idea and idea of the master. I would also like to note that this is not the only painting by Giuseppe in which he uses products to create his picturesque images.