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Raiders of the Lost Arcimboldo March 21, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Art History, Public art, Student Post, Surreal.
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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.

arcim_1(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.

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dali

(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.
ocampo

(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.

peterjoelwitkin(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/
muniz_saturn

(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

blu(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

aurelschmidtall (above) Aurel Schmidt’s beautifully intricate drawings.

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