Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527–1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and books.
He was a conventional court painter of portraits for three Holy Roman Emperors in Vienna and Prague, also producing religious subjects and, among other things, a series of colored drawings of exotic animals in the imperial menagerie.Arcimboldo’s conventional work on traditional religious subjects has fallen into oblivion, but his portraits of human heads made up of vegetables, fruit and tree roots, were greatly admired by his contemporaries and remain a source of fascination today.
Art critics debated whether these paintings were whimsical or the product of a deranged mind, but the majority of scholars hold to the view that given the Renaissance fascination with riddles, puzzles, and the bizarre, Arcimboldo, far from being mentally imbalanced, catered to the taste of his times.Arcimboldo did not leave written certificates on himself or his artwork.After the deaths of Arcimboldo and his patron, the emperor Rudolph II, the heritage of the artist was quickly forgotten, and many of his works were lost.When the Swedish army invaded Prague in 1648, during the Thirty Years’ War, many of Arcimboldo’s paintings were taken from Rudolf II’s collection.His paintings have been cited as precursors to Surrealism and were highly prized by Salvador Dalí and other members of the movement.
John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was the most successful Impressionist painter of his era, as well as a gifted landscape painter and watercolorist.Born in Florence to expatriate American parents, Sargent received his first formal art instruction at Rome in 1868, and then sporadically attended the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence between 1870 and 1873.In 1874 he was accepted at the Paris atelier of the portraitist Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran, and attended drawing classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.Throughout the 1880s, he regularly participated in the Paris Salon — most often, his works were full-length portraits of women, which generally received positively.Sargent’s best portraits expertly reveal the individuality and personality of his sitters.This ability set him apart from others portrait painters of his time—he made the sitter shine on the canvas while capturing the essence of their being.Noted for his dazzling technical virtuosity and painterly technique, he influenced an entire generation of American portraitists. By the turn of the century Sargent was recognized as the most acclaimed international society portraitist of the Edwardian era, and his clientele consisted of the most affluent, aristocratic, and fashionable people of his time.Around 1906 he abandoned portraiture and worked primarily in watercolor, a medium in which he was extraordinarily gifted.More of John Singer Sargent‘s paintings can be found at https://www.johnsingersargent.org/.
Using the New York City subway system as the setting for his work, Matthew Grabelsky paints surreal portraits of people who are seemingly normal from the neck down, but who have had their heads replaced by animals, both wild and domesticated.Grabelsky graduated Cum Laude from Rice University in 2002 with a BA in Art and Art History, along with a BS in Astrophysics.Grabelsky’s paintings are inspired by the years he spent riding the subways in New York as a kid and by his early fascination with Greek mythology.Small details including zoo posters, stickers, T-shirts, and toys add humor to the art, while light reflecting off subway tiles and molded sets show the artist’s technical ability to paint hyperrealistic scenes.Grabelsky’s paintings are an exploration of human nature and of the way that animals represent various parts of the human subconscious.“The characters are symbolic of the kinds of thoughts that lie under the surface of people’s minds, and they reveal that the most extraordinary can exist in the most ordinary of everyday settings,” the artist has said.“This theme is communicated through the juxtaposition of these ostensibly irrational images with otherwise completely mundane scenes.
My idea is that my creatures are not original but are ultimately part of a much larger cultural continuum.”
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) was a German painter, draftsman, and designer, renowned for the precise rendering of his drawings and the compelling realism of his portraits, particularly those recording the court of King Henry VIII of England.
Holbein the Younger was one of the most celebrated portraitists of the sixteenth century.
Jean De Dinteville and Georges de Selves
At an early age he won commissions to paint portraits of prominent merchants in Basel, and in later years he attracted powerful patrons in England, including Sir Thomas More.
Sir Thomas More
He also produced religious art, satire, and Reformation propaganda, and he made a significant contribution to the history of book design.
Anne of Cleves
Holbein’s art has sometimes been called realist, since he drew and painted with a rare precision.
Edward, Prince of Wales
He was never content with outward appearance, however; he embedded layers of symbolism, allusion, and paradox in his art, to the lasting fascination of scholars.
His portraits were renowned in their time for their likeness, and it is through his eyes that many famous figures of his day are pictured today.