Arcimboldo
255 pages
English

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255 pages
English

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Description

If, as the famous saying goes, you really are what you eat, then Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was a consummate painter of the human soul. This artist was a master draftsman whose finely wrought canvases captured the imagination of his generation. In this fascinating book, Liana De Girolami Cheney takes a closer look at the critical history of Arcimboldo’s work, from his initial popularity and the tragic obscurity that followed his death, to the ventual triumphant revival of his work and vision by Surrealist admirers of the 1920s.

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Publié par
Date de parution 05 juillet 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783101610
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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Author :
Liana De Girolami Cheney

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© Parkstone Press International, New York, USA
© Confidential Concepts, worldwide, USA
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All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers, artists, heirs or estates Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.

ISBN: 978-1-78310-161-0
Beyond perception and signification (lexical or cultural) there develops a whole world of value: before one of Arcimboldo’s Composed Heads, I am led to not only say of it: I read, guess, discover, and understand, but also: I like, I don’t like. Uneasiness, fear, laughter, desire all enter the game.

— Roland Barthes
Table of contents


Biography
Index
Self-portrait on p aper (Man of Letters), 1587.
Pen and ink on paper, 44.2 x 31.8 cm .
Palazzo Rosso, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Genoa.
Biography


1527 Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born to a noble family in Milan. His father, the painter Biagio Arcimboldo, was friends with Bernardino Luini, a student of Leonardo da Vinci.


1549 The artist ’ s name appeared in the annals of the works of the Cathedral of Milan for the first time, where, with his father, he created drawings for the Cathedral ’ s stained glass windows.


1551 Arcimboldo painted five insignias for the King of Bohemia, and future Emperor, Ferdinand I.


1555 The documents of the annals of the works of the Cathedral of Milan made mention of Arcimboldo ’ s great talent in the execution of the organ doors for the Cathedral.


1558 He sketched Old and New Testament scenes for the tapestries of Death of the Virgin, now found in the Como Cathedral.
1562 Ferdinand I, King of Bohemia, requested Arcimboldo’s artistic talent at the Habsburg Imperial Court.


1563-1566 He painted the first series of the Four Seasons for Ferdinand I.


1565 Arcimboldo’s name appeared in the archives of the Habsburg court, cited as court painter.


1566 Arcimboldo painted The Jurist and began the Four Elements series.


1568 He began to collaborate with Giovanni Battista Fonteo, humanist and poet, on thematic and emblematic commissions.


1570 In Prague, Arcimboldo prepared the staging and decorations for a tournament celebrating the wedding of Elisabeth, daughter of Maximilian II, and Charles IX, King of France.

1571 In Vienna, with the help of the poet scholar Fonteo and the artist-philosopher Jacopo Strada, Arcimboldo decorated the apartments for the wedding celebrations of Archduke Charles of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria.


1577 He painted another cycle of the Four Seasons and the Four Elements .


1585 Arcimboldo gifted Rudolf II with a portfolio containing a series of 150 drawings.


1586 He designed the decor for the new residence of Baron Grünbuchel, Rudolf II ’ s Minister of Cabinet.


1591 Arcimboldo sent Rudolf II a portrait of the Emperor under the guise of Vertumnus .


1593 11 July, Giuseppe Arcimboldo died in Milan. He is buried in the Church of San Pietro della Vigna.
S on of the artist Biagio Arcimboldo and Chiara Parisi, Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born in Milan in 1527. Of noble descent, Arcimboldo ’ s family originated from the south of Germany, with some family members relocating to Lombardy during the Middle Ages. Numerous variations of the spelling of the family name can be found: Acimboldi, Arisnbodle, Arcsimbaldo, Arzimbaldo, or Arczimboldo; the ‘ boldo ’ or ‘ baldo ’ suffix is a mediaeval Germanic derivative. Likewise, Arcimboldo signed his first name in several different ways: Giuseppe, Josephus, Joseph, or Josepho are some of the examples that can be found.

Red-flanked Duiker and Mountain Coati
Biblioteca Universitaria, Bologna

In his work La noblità di Milano (1619), Paulo Morigi charted the history of Arcimboldo ’ s family and confirmed his nobility, despite very uncertain sources, by tracing his roots back to the time of Charlemagne, when a nobleman named Sigfrid Arcimboldo served in the court of the Emperor. Out of sixteen Arcimboldo children, three were knighted and one amongst them settled in Lombardy. This is how the Italian branch of the family came to be founded. To support his claims, Morigi declared that his narrative came “ directly from Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a trustworthy gentleman with a respectable lifestyle ” .

Red Deer
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Also in La noblità di Milano , Morigi continued to develop the history of the Arcimboldo family, although limiting this to the Italian branch residing in Milan. He stated that the widower Guido Antonio Arcimboldo, Giuseppe ’ s great-great-grandfather, was elected Archbishop of Milan in 1489, succeeding his deceased brother, Giovanni Arcimboldo. Between 1550 and 1555, Giovanni Angelo Arcimboldo, illegitimate son of Guido Antonio, reigned as Archbishop of Milan. He advised Giuseppe and steered him through the politics of the artists, humanists, and writers of the Milanese Court.

Chamois and Ibex
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

In Milan, Arcimboldo received training from his father in the arts, and also from artists of the Lombard School, such as Giuseppe Meda (active in Milan from 1551 to 1559) and Bernardino Campi (1522-1591), a distinguished painter from Cremona.
A certain artistic and scientific fascination for Leonardo da Vinci has been perceived in Arcimboldo ’ s art. In fact, Giuseppe ’ s father, Biagio, had the good fortune to be friends with Bernardino Luini, a student of Leonardo da Vinci ’ s, who, after da Vinci ’ s death,

Composition with Animals
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

inherited several of his master ’ s workbooks and sketches. Biagio Arcimboldo certainly studied these and, years later, taught da Vinci ’ s artistic and scientific style to his son Giuseppe.
The Italian artists Biagio, Meda, and Campi were in contact with German artists, either working on commissions for the Milan Cathedral or creating tapestries for the Medici family. According to the Milan Cathedral archives, Arcimboldo was established as a master in 1549,

Composition with Animals (detail)
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

working with his father in the painting and creation of sketches for the stained glass windows, organ doors, and canopy of the Cathedral ’ s altar. The most important stained glass windows, located within the apse, depict the Tales of the Life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria . The Christian legend deals with the martyrdom of Catherine, who refused to renounce her Christian faith for pagan gods. The decoration of these scenes was relatively elaborate,

Nature Study
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

based on a combination of classic themes (amphorae, garlands, and cherubs) and Christian symbols (thrones, scallop shells, and ceremonial ornaments).
The architectural and ornamental concepts reflected the illusion of art and a mannerist taste. These forms also demonstrated Leonardo da Vinci ’ s influence on Arcimboldo, gained through the art of Milanese artist Gaudenzio Ferrari (1471-1546), who also worked on the Cathedral ’ s stained glass windows.

Nature Study
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

A document from the archives of the Milan Cathedral, dated 1556, mentions that Arcimboldo ’ s sketches for the Cathedral project were transposed onto glass by Corrado de Mochis, a master glazier from Cologne. During this period, Arcimboldo painted five emblematic insignias (today, lost) for Ferdinand, King of Bohemia, later Ferdinand I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
After the death of his father in 1551, Arcimboldo continued to work in Lombardy until 1558, after which time he undertook travels to Como and Monza.

Nature Study
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

He created sketches of Old and New Testament themes for tapestries for the Como Cathedral. Flemish artists Johannes and Ludwig Karcher (active from 1517-1561), employed by the Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory, created a tapestry from these sketches.
The names of the weavers appear on a scroll on the tapestry. Arcimboldo created eight scenes, sumptuously embellished with borders festooned with flowers, fruit, scrolls,

Nature Study
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

and classical-style grotesques ( grotteschi) , such as can be seen in Death of the Virgin . In a private garden , in which the architecture echoes the styles of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Virgin rests in a casket surrounded by the mourning apostles, whilst the Santa Maria della Grazie Church can be seen in the background.
Likewise, Arcimboldo created sketches for tapestries (today, lost) for the Monza Cathedral. Between 1556 and 1558, he also developed a series of frescos of The Jesse Tree ,

Study of a Lesser Kestrel ( Falco naumanni ) and f lowers
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

inspired by a passage from the prophet Isaiah. In the centre of the painting stands an enormous tree trunk; a cross containing the image of the crucified Christ. An old man rests by the tree roots, and the tree ’ s extended branches hold the figures of the kings of Judea, Christ ’ s ancestors.
Arcimboldo continued to instil in his works a combination of classical and Christian themes, staying true to the illusionism of the 16 th century.

Bird
Gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Because of certain stylistic similarities in the drawings of his figures and garlands or grotesques to those of the frescos created by Raphael for the Papal Apartments, the Vatican Loggia, as well as the Loggia of Psyche, and with the general School of the Roman Renaissance, some scholars maintain that Arcimboldo must have travelled to Rome during this period to immerse himself in the knowledge of the all ’ antica (ancient) style. However, Arcimboldo ’ s familiarity with this type of fantastical ornamentation was not uniquely the result of an assimilation of Ancient Roman and Renaissance artistic influences;

Bird
Gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

it was also part of the tradition of Northern Italy. He could have, in effect, admired the examples in religious works by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), such as his San Zeno Altarpiece in Verona, his Camera degli Sposi (Bridal Chamber) at Mantua, or in the numerous altarpieces created by Venetian painter Carlo Crivelli (c. 1435-1495), the decor by Francesco Colonna for his Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Poliphilo ’ s Strife of Love in a Dream), and,

Bird
Gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

moreover, in the pictorial illustrations of Leonardo da Vinci in the Sala delle Asse (1495-1498) in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Satisfied by the emblems Arcimboldo created in 1551, Ferdinand of Bohemia invited him several times to take up an artist ’ s post at the Imperial Court of Prague. In 1562, Arcimboldo finally accepted: he travelled first to Vienna, and then settled in Prague as portraitist and copyist for the Emperor,

Bird
Gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

replacing the “ old ” Jacob Seisenegger. In l ’ Historia dell ’ antichità di Milano of 1592, Morigi recounts to us another interpretation of this very important patronage for Arcimboldo at the court of Ferdinand I and his successors, Maximilian II and Rudolf II. According to him, Arcimboldo “ was appreciated and well-treated, received with great bounty, the Emperor offered him a good salary suitable to his merit and showed him his affection in numerous other ways ” . The Study for a Self-portrait by Arcimboldo,

Wild Boar
Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

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