Arcimboldo: Nature Into Art

National Museum Of Western Art, Tokyo

poster for Arcimboldo: Nature Into Art
[Image: Giuseppe Arcimboldo "La Primavera" © Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Madrid]

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Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593) was a painter born in Milan, Italy and active in the latter half of the 16th century at the Hapsburg court in Vienna and later in Prague.

Arcimboldo was a multifaceted “court entertainer”, whose unique and whimsical works gained favor with Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor and lover of rare artworks.

Arcimboldo’s name is primarily and widely remembered as the creator of numerous allegorical portraits, where the subject’s form is made up of a truly ingenious combination of unrelated motifs, such as fruit, vegetables, fish and books. These strange, cipher-like paintings, in which it is hard to separate the interactions between fantasy and reason, surprise, stimulate and amuse the senses and invite interpretation. They proved to be a major stimulus for the Surrealists and later artists of the 20th century.

The approximately 100 works in this exhibition — arranged around a core of drawings and about 10 oil paintings by Arcimboldo lent by major museums worldwide — will help viewers understand the secrets behind his creation of an imaginary world, along with his influence on his successors. We hope that visitors will enjoy this first introduction in Japan of Arcimboldo’s weirdly witty and wonderful artistry.

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from June 20, 2017 to September 24, 2017

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