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Viewing artwork 18/1963
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18/1963 - 'Summer' -
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 - 93)
As the court artist to the Hapsburg rulers in Vienna and Prague, one of the duties of Giuseppe Arcimboldo was to amuse his patrons. For their delight he invented a brilliant and bizarre series of composite heads made up of everyday objects
The rather sinister figure here is the personification of summer and is made up of wheat and a variety of summer and autumn fruits. It is a complex arrangement of symbols for a sophisticated audience. For example, a peach with a leaf represented the unison of the heart and tongue, and so symbolised truth.
The image can also be seen as a Renaissance variant on the ‘grotesque’. This was a form of decorative art derived from antiquity, often comprising of human and animal motifs.