July 22, 2004


It has been a poor sort of summer in Sweden: one newspaper report I saw said that this June was the coolest here since 1928. So far, July has been no better. The weather continues to lurch indecisively from the pleasantly vernal to the greyly autumnal, and the last few days’ rain has tricked mushrooms into raising their heads from the damp soil in Admiralty Park as if it were already October. I can still hope that we’ll see some of the blazing sunshine that was so prevalent during our last two summers here: ideally, it should arrive by the start of August, when we’ll be on vacation.

'Summer' by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, oil on linden-wood, 1563, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Regardless of the weather, I am presenting here three versions of Summer by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The first (above) belongs to his original set of four seasons, dating from 1563, and is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The second picture (below) is from a complete set of seasons dating from 1573, that today hang in the Louvre. If you look at the figures’ collars of plaited straw, you will see Arcimboldo’s ‘signature’ thereupon: in the various sets of four seasons, the Summer pictures alone bear his name.

'Summer' by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, oil on canvas, 1573, Musée du Louvre, Paris.

It is the inexact spelling of the artist’s surname on the third of these pictures (below) that has ‘raised doubts about the attribution of this series [a set of four seasons in a private collection in Bergamo] to the highly meticulous hand of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.’ There is apparently yet another Summer bearing the same date as this one (1572) in a collection in Lausanne.

'Summer' by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, oil on canvas, 1572, Private collection, Bergamo.

As with my previous entries on Arcimboldo, the present images are scans from the 1980 book Arcimboldo published by Franco Maria Ricci. Click on the images to see them much enlarged…

Posted by misteraitch at July 22, 2004 07:26 PM | TrackBack

Cool :O)

Posted by: Claire on July 23, 2004 10:04 AM

I've just had another look at the Four Seasons set at the Louvre, which hang beneath a particularly grim crucifixion scene by Antonio Campi , a Cremonese contemporary of Archimboldo. The humorless sadism of Campi's painting is somehow magnified its proximity to Spring's fleshy flower petals, Summer's grape eyes, Winter's mushroom lips, and Autumn's pear nose.

Posted by: Jack Rusher on July 23, 2004 07:49 PM

Welcome to the club.
It's been one, miserable summer in Finland, too.
Especially in the south.

The Lapland has been a hot place, obviously.

These latitudes, these latitudes...

Posted by: Lea on July 25, 2004 10:47 AM

i think his pivtures are stupid and pathetic

Posted by: siobhan on November 5, 2004 01:49 PM

Ya Ya ha ha fun fun fun

Posted by: carson on February 16, 2005 07:46 PM

i need to see the other paintings im doing this in art

Posted by: i on May 5, 2005 11:50 AM
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