“Cook”, Giuseppe Arcimboldo – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Cook – Giuseppe Arcimboldo. 1570. Oil on canvas. 53 x 41 cm

   This picture is a classic shifter with the elements of surrealism that were so characteristic of the work of Arcimboldo. If you look at the canvas in the usual position, then this is a classic still life, on which the hands of a person are visible, removing the metal cover from the same large dish. On it lie various meat dishes – a roasted pig, a rabbit carcass and a small chicken. It seems that everything is usual, the image quality is up to par, but the work does not produce any particular impression.

   But one has only to turn the canvas 180 degrees, as everything changes radically. An ordinary still life turns into an original portrait. It depicts a human head made up of completely unusual objects – food. The face is formed by a rabbit carcass, the upper part of the head, forehead and back of the head are the piglet, and the nose is created by the chicken, its head and beak turn into the character’s eye.

   On the chef’s head is a hat made from a dish. It is decorated with a “brooch” from a slice of lemon with a toothpick, as well as a “feather” from an oak sprig with acorns. The second dish forms a kind of collar or armor. In general, the resulting portrait looks solid and organic, and the appearance of a person is recognizable."