Autumn Giuseppe Arcimboldo Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Autumn is Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s oil on canvas painting made in 1573. The painting is currently in Paris at the Musée du Louvre. The Musée du Louvre considers it a public domain hence tagged as portraits.

The image shows a whole profile of vegetables, fruits, and plants related to autumn. Giovanna Battista Fonteo accompanied Giuseppe Arcimboldo's work with a poem to explain the allegorical meaning. The image represents autumn with a grumpy man looking to the left side of the portrait. The face of the man is rough since it is made of fruits. It is hard to recognise the portrait has an image of a man if looked at close range. At far, the portrait resembles a normal man, but as the viewer approaches, fruits are visible.

The neck is made up of some vegetables and two pears. It looks like it is emerging from a destroyed vat bound with willow branches. Several pears and apples are on his face, especially the nose and cheek. The chin is made up of pomegranate. The ear is fitted with a fig-shaped earing but made up of a mushroom. The fruits used to make the mouth and lips are chestnuts. Giuseppe Arcimboldo used a bunch of grapes to make the hair and a single pumpkin as his bonnet. Autumn's portrait only shows one side of the man’s face. The head has some leaves from a single plant. Also, the head has some small seeds or fruits near the forehead and two nuts hanging at the back of the head on top of the pumpkin. Giuseppe Arcimboldo made the beards out of wheat grains. The side beards are made of sorghum that runs from the ear (mushroom) to one of the apples on the face (does not reach chin beards).

The face and the neck are made up mostly of pears and apples, while the head is mainly a bunch of grapes with leaves and a big pumpkin. Two root-like veins run across the face, one on the eyes and another from the mouth downwards. The vat that holds the head of the man is held together with some branches that have four fruits developing at different parts. The willow branch has some green leaves where the fruits are emerging. The length of the grapes shows that the man had long hair. Giuseppe Arcimboldo made a portrait of the other three season with the number of pieces that correspond to each other logically. Earth to autumn, fire to summer, water to winter, and air to spring. This pairing shows linked chaos themes brought into the glorification and harmony of the Habsburg dynasty.

Autumn in Detail Giuseppe Arcimboldo