Raiders of the Lost Arcimboldo March 21, 2009Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Art History, Public art, Student Post, Surreal.
Tags: Alex Iezzi, Arcimboldo, assemblage, Aurel Schmidt, Dali, Joel-Peter Witkin, Octavio Ocampo, Vik Muniz
by Alex Iezzi
The 15th century, Italian painter, Giuseppe Arcimboldo is one of the most instantly recognizable artists in western art. From Milan, Arcimboldo worked as a court painter, as well as court decorator, and fashion designer, painting the Royalty, in Prague. And he painted them as fruit, and other objects.
(above left) Vertumnus (portrait of Emperor Rudolf II)c. 1590 (middle) Winter c. 1563 (right) Win
Arcimboldo had an uncanny ability to look at a human figure and turn it into still life observational-plant-matter-mosaic of sorts. Arcimboldo can be seen as the grandfather of this style; influencing A number of artists historically, and in contemporary art in techniques, and mediums.
His influence on artists of the 20th century can be seen in the work of the Surreal and Dada artists. The artists of these movements were influenced by the bizarre quality of Arcimboldo’s work. Salvador Dali, a surrealist, oftentimes created hidden images within images, although doing it much more abstractly and stranger than Arcimboldo.
(above) Dali’s landscape with hidden face.
Since the 1970’s, Mexican painter Octavio Ocampo has been creating images influenced by Arcimboldo. His subject matter usually deals with religious, and traditional Mexican imagery. Ocampo’s portraits are comprised of juxtaposed historical images, painted and composed in such a way as to create very interesting allusions relating to a superimposed likeness. I would not quite call it pop art.
(above) Ocampo’s portrait of Don Quixote.
Moving to our contemporaries, a very large body of work has been created in the style of Guiseppe Arcimboldo, even in mediums other than painting. Joel-Peter Witkin has referenced Arcimboldo, and with his influence created horrifying photographic works. Witkin credits the witnessing of woman’s decapitation during his childhood to be the source of his own aesthetic sensibilities. Like Acrimboldo, he arranges organic and man-made material into portraits. Witkin’s portraits can seem disgusting and be of confusing scenes, whose purpose is to leave a deep, and sick impression in the viewer. Here for more: www.edelmangallery.com/witkin.htm.
(above) Joel-Peter Witkin’s photographs obviously are influenced by the work of the late Arcimboldo.
Vik Muniz is another artist who uses this material-assemblage technique and then photographs the result. Muniz uses junk in a junkyard setting and rearranges it in order to create images, which can only be captured by a camera hung from a crane far overhead. The images are copies of some great master paintings, including Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Correggio, and Goya. Despite the use of a simmilar assemblage style Muniz does recreate a Arcimboldo. The similarities are interesting to note. Here for more: www.vikmuniz.net/
(above) Muniz’s rendition of Goya’s Saturn Devouring One of His Sons.
A younger generation has also picked up on the style of Arcimboldo and worked in a very grand scale, much like Vik Muniz. Blu, an Italian mural artist most famous for his moving graffiti animations www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuGaqLT-gO4 , has exhibited influence in Arcimboldo. This can be seen in his 2007 Berlin work. Here for more www.blublu.org
(above) Blu’s mural.
The last artist we look at is my personal favorite of the group, the young (25), Aurel Schmidt. Her drawings of the grotesque and deranged can also show Arcimboldo’s influence. She has a modern twist however, using her own collections of trash to mold monsters out of them. Her drawings are incredibly detailed, every inch is completely rendered, and should be seen in person to get the true effect. Not only is Schmidt a master of capturing minute detail in her drawings, but she masterfully lays them down into chilling compositions that Arcimboldo would surely be proud of! Here for more: www.tinyvices.com/Aurel_Schmidt.html
(above) Aurel Schmidt’s beautifully intricate drawings.