“Four Seasons”, Giuseppe Arcimboldo – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Four Seasons – Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Canvas, oil. 94 x 73 cm

“Four Seasons” is the second version of the canvas on the same subject, written by Arcimboldo for Emperor Rudolph II. The first option was a series of works (for each season) and was created for Emperor Maximilian II.

In this canvas, an allegorical composition contains all the elements that nature gives us in spring, summer, autumn and winter. The background for the image is a sky covered with clouds, but if you look closely, the clouds form a kind of armchair made of snow, on which Her Majesty Nature sits. So this is the first allegory – winter.

The painting itself is a portrait of an abstract woman whose features are assembled from individual elements – flowers, fruits, vegetables, cereals, leaves. It can be safely stated that all four seasons of the year are embodied by the figure of the goddess Flora, the patroness of the plant world.

Her face, located in profile to the viewer, is formed of white jasmine flowers, lush pink roses, depicting a wreath on the hair of leaves. A bell-shaped inflorescence forms the nose, two pink buds form the lips. Even her earrings are three cherries on long stalks.

The neck and chest of the goddess are created by lush white elderberry inflorescences, they are decorated with a necklace woven of cherries. An outfit is a multitude of different leaves, decorated with unopened artichoke inflorescences and luxurious roses. They form a spectacular frill along the “neckline” and the “cuffs” of the outfit.

Woman’s hands are pods filled with ripe peas. In them she holds a basket full of ripe, juicy fruit. In this picture, in an allegorical and surrealistic manner, the annual miracle of abundance with which nature rewards us is reproduced."

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