Arcimboldo was an Italian painter, mostly known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. Initially, like his father, the Renaissance painter 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. 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 on the canvas, arranged in such a way that the whole collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject.
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