Virtual Gardener Fall, 2011 Guiseppe Arcimboldo

Virtual Gardener Fall, 2011 Guiseppe Arcimboldo –

This season’s ArTboretum offering is an exhibit of pumpkins carved by artist Nelson Hancock. Nelson found his inspiration in the work of Italian painter, Guiseppe Arcimboldo (1526 – 1593).

Born in Milan, Guiseppe Arcimboldo would rise to the ranks of “Royal Portraitist” in the Court of Emperor Maximillian II. After his death, Arcimboldo’s work was largely forgotten by the art world. It was not until the 1930’s, when the NYC’s Museum of Modern Art mounted an exhibit on Surrealism and Dadaism and included his paintings, that Arcimboldo found his role as mentor of surrealists. How this essentially Mannerist painter came to mentor 20th century surrealists is a fascinating story.

Last year, the Washington’s National Gallery of Art presented “Archimboldo – Nature and Fantasy. Paintings and exhibit text may be viewed at

Study his painting “Spring”- can you count the more than 80 flowering plants that compose it? “Summer” features a locavore’s delight.

The Virtual Gardener suggests you visit these all of these sites, in order to understand the world in which Arcimboldo created his fanciful, metaphorical, somewhat sarcastic and always and technically brilliant works. – to learn about Mannerism and link to art museums across the globe with Arcimboldos in their collections. – to read Arcimboldo’s inspired poetry. – for a nice chronology of his life and interesting comparisons to Leonardo Da Vinci. – read the section on his “Legend” to see how Arcimboldo’s vision lives on in the 21st century.