Reviews - What do customers think about Arcimboldo (Basic Art)?
Sixteenth century proto-surrealist Dec 15, 2005
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was a Milanese painter who served as Court Painter in Prague for two Holy Roman Emperors, Maximilian II and Rudoloph II. Today he's known exclusively for his painted busts of Foliate heads composed of vegetables, flowers, birds and animals, and portions of landscape. These works are rendered in closely observed and with careful regarded detail and delicately colored. His images remain startling to this day and it's no surprise that 20th century Surrealists claimed him as a precursor.
This volume would earn a 5 star rating for its affordable price, its physical production and for its excellent and generous reproductions. But I have to deduct 2 stars for its text which, while informative, is very dry and makes tedious reading. It reads like the first draft of a graduate art history student's research paper.
It's divided into 5 sections: 1. LIFE AND WORK OF ARCIMBOLDO. This is the most informative. It details adequately the artist's lineage, history and his relationship with the Royal House of Hapsberg. 2. ARCIMBOLDO'S PICTURES. In which the author basically summarizes and quotes a variety of experts on the historical, philosophical, cultural and iconographical significance of the artist's paintings. Example: Art historian A states this, but art critic B claims a contrary opinion while expert C says "Yes, but...". 3. ARCIMBOLDO'S VERTUMNUS. Said painting is illustrated with a poem about the painting, in Italian with English translation, by a contemporary of Arcimboldo. 4. ARCIMBOLDO AS SCIENTIST. The only specific instance cited is the artist's devising an alternative to musical notation through use of a color spectra and tonal values to indicate particular musical notes. 5.ARCIMBOLDO'S DRAWINGS. A short selection of pen drawings that were use as models to fabricate costumes for Royal festivals. 6. CHRONOLOGY 7. BIBLIOGRAPHY.
This book is a worthy addition to any art library. I'm happy to have it.