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Initially, like his father, the
Renaissance painter Arcimboldo
worked as a painter on Milan Cathedral. This changed in 1562 when the Emperor of Hapsburg, Ferdinand I, summoned him to the royal court in Prague. Ferdinand's successors, Maximillian II and Rudolph II, were also much taken with Arcimboldo's marvelous talents and so, for nearly all of the rest of his life, he remained in the
service of this court, not only as a painter, but also as an architect, a designer of bizarre settings and costumes, and an organizer of major festivities
His work was much appreciated both for its sense of craftsmanship as well as its artistic value, and its eccentric, if sometimes comical aspects, may have made a welcome change to the day-to-day harsh political reality.
Arcimboldo owes his present-day fame to his artistic discovery of the composite head
. He painted his first version of The Four Seasons, portraits composed of flowers, fruit, twigs and leaves, soon after his arrival in Prague.
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Water Sea Life Portrait Head (1566) by Arcimboldo
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Man Portrait Made of Fruits and Vegetables Vertumnus God of Seasons by Arcimboldo 4.5H