Inverno (1563)

Arcimboldo, Giuseppe (1526-1593)

Inverno (Winter)
Oil on limewood, 66.6 x 50.5 cm
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna

Inscribed at lower right: GIVSEPPE ARCIMBOLDO. F.
On the back side: 1563 HIEMS

Arcimboldo had been imperial court painter in Vienna and Prague since 1562. As well as a portraitist, he was mainly renowned for his work as a producer and designer of courtly tournaments and wedding celebrations. In 1563, however, he created a series of paintings of the seasons, the uniqueness of which was the basis of the painter’s later fame. Made up of plant pieces and fruit, at no point on “Winter” can we see the surface of a natural face. The letter M on the collar’s tangle of straw hints at Emperor Maximilian who commissioned the series. (KHM)