Giuseppe Arcimboldo—the Royal Painter
Gradually, Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s popularity in Italy had begun to grow, and Ferdinand I, the reigning king, noticed it. The king appointed him as the court portraitist at the Habsburg court situated in Vienna. Later, Maximilian II and Rudolf II approached him and appointed him as the court portraitist at Prague court.
However, painting portraits of people were not his only talents, as he served as a costume designer and court decorator. Even when he was pursuing different careers, he did not let up on his paintings.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Paintings Were a Source of Mystery
The Italian painter produced several masterpieces in his life, but only the most unconventional and mysterious gained lifelong fame. His paintings on religious subjects failed to get a positive response from people, leading them to disappear entirely. His paintings that did garner a response were his portraits of human heads compromised of odd items such as plants, tree roots, vegetables, fruits, and plants.
Who Inspired Him?
Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s inspiration was his imagination, which he used every time he sat down in front of a blank canvas. He dug deep in the realms of his mind to create human portraits, overlapping the objects to create the shape of an anatomically correct human head. One thing people should know about his paintings is that he never used objects out of the blue, as each object was related to each other.
For instance, in his painting of The Librarian, he used objects that indicated the literary culture of that era. He used the tails of animals for beards, open book for hair, and strands of paper for fingers. Even though The Librarian was not perceived well by scholars, as they said it ridiculed their education, it is now one of his most talked about pieces of work.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo welcomed critics and did not mind the objections, as he lived to create paintings that showed the misbehavior of the elite class during his time. Through The Librarian, he wanted to depict the ill habit of rich people who collected books for the sake of it, but not to read them.
In the end, his senseless paintings made a lot of sense, as they had a deeper meaning behind the fruits, books, and vegetables used to create it. When he died on July 11, 1593, in the same place as he was born, and he left behind a legacy of his own.