The 16th Century's Bizarre Illusion Painter Is Slowly Making A Comeback

November 4, 2014 2:11 PM

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The 16th Century's Bizarre Illusion Painter Is Slowly Making A Comeback

Stare into a Giuseppe Arcimboldo painting, and you'll find yourself gazing into a wormhole of bibelots and gimcrackery. Bits of household items mesh with teases of flora and fauna in strange yet eerily familiar configurations. Strange because of the pure randomness of the collaged pieces, familiar because the objects end up forming human faces. Where the optical illusion ends and the portrait begins is warped at every turn.

And keep in mind, his bizarre paintings were created in the 1500s, when Arcimboldo was a court portraitist who subverted the typical "royal likenesses" for portraits made from fruits, vegetables, rodents and sticks.

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