Giuseppe Arcimboldo Topic Guide

The Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (around 1526 to 1593) painted fantastical images and created spectacular events for the royal courts in Vienna and Prague.

When his portraits are viewed from a distance, they seem quite conventional, but as you look closer and closer, you can see they are made up from objects, like a still-life. His works are amazingly detailed, and were designed to amuse the members of the court.

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Giuseppe Arcimboldo Facts

  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo was probably born in 1526 or 1527 in Milan, Italy.
  • Arcimboldo is now famous for his composite portraits, which use painted fruit, vegetables and other items to look like a human figure.
  • Arcimboldo was a court painter for three Holy Roman Emperors.
  • Some of Arcimboldo’s portraits are reversible, and are designed to show a completely different image when viewed upside down, such as “Reversible Head with Basket of Fruit.”
  • Arcimboldo was very famous during his lifetime, but he was largely forgotten about after his death. His work was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th Century and influenced the work of Salvador Dali and the surrealists.


Art with Mati and Dada

Is that a bowl of vegetables, or a strange looking man wearing a hat?

Running time: 7:27

Mister Maker Discovers Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Food Art

Mister Maker learns how the artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo used food to make some very funny art.

Running time: 1:22

Painter Arcimboldo and His Unique Style of Portraiture

Older children will enjoy learning about Arcimboldo in this short video.

Running time: 3:56

Draw Like Giuseppe Arcimboldo

This tutorial will inspired children to make their own Arcimboldo style picture.

Running time: 4:04


Arcimboldo's Portraits

Enter the fantastical world of Arcimboldo’s portraits.

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