A probable self-portrait, “Four Seasons in One Head” is a late work by Giuseppe Arcimboldo which recently resurfaced in an English private collection. Its first public exhibition took place in 2007-8 as part of an Arcimbolo retrospective held in Paris and Vienna. An Italian painter of the Renaissance period, Arcimbolo produced many conventional art pieces during his lifetime, but is best known for his composite portraits. As the title implies, “Four Seasons” combines elements symbolic of winter (the bare tree stump, forming the chest and head), spring (flowers on the breast and shoulder), summer (bundles of wheat, cherries, plums) and fall (grapes and apples). A more somber portrait than his earlier work, the subject appears elderly. He has passed through the warmer seasons, and is now in the winter of his years.
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Giuseppe Arcimboldo : “Four Seasons in One Head” (1590)
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