Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Oil on panel
Skokloster Castle, Sweden

“Vertumnus” is portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, depicted by Arcimboldo as the Roman god of the seasons, growth, gardens, fruit trees, and metamorphosis in nature. Typical of Arcimboldo’s portraits the composition of a human subject using natural forms is symbolic of the harmony between the rule of the Emperor and the rule of nature. The abundance of produce represents the return of the Golden Age under Rudolf II

Giuseppe Arcimboldo 1527-1593

Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Born: 1527, Milan, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Died: 11 July 1593, Milan, Italy

Arcimboldo was a painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made from objects such as fruit, vegetables, fish, books, and flowers. However, he was also a conventional painter of portraits, including three Holy Roman Emperors, religious subjects, and exotic animals. Arcimboldo’s still-life portraits were intended as curiosities, whimsical in nature produced to amuse the court