"Seasons" - a cycle of four works of the Italian painter of the sixteenth century Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who created them by order of the emperor. In these paintings, the artist was able to depict each of the four separate seasons in the form of a human profile, composed of elements of nature that are characteristic of these periods. The features of the arrangement of the paintings reflect the prevailing notions of the annual cycle that prevailed in the late Middle Ages, which at that time were usually divided into two half-years (winter-spring and summer-autumn); also at Arcimboldo the neighboring periods of one half-year are facing each other, as if talking to each other and forming a single composition.
"Seasons" are characterized by a bizarre combination of many objects of the surrounding nature, allegorically reflecting the spirit of their time and its perception. So, Winter is depicted in the form of a cracked old stump, looking like a crooked shriveled old man; the nose of this old man, shown in the form of grass growths, cracked and flaky, a crooked mouth without teeth formed by a mushroom, an ear - a broken twig, and a chin covered with wart bushes. On the other hand, Spring is looking at him, visibly contrasting with the first image: this is a young girl, all of whose features are created from herbs and fragrant flowers. “Summer” is no longer a girl, but a young woman; the picture vividly conveys the splendor and maturity, the richness of fruits, berries and vegetables. "Autumn" is shown in the form of a riot of grapes, pomegranates and many other fruits that form the profile of a cheerful and strong man.
The work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, one of the first to go beyond the limits of the Christian-canonical framework for the perception of painting customary for the Middle Ages and for the first time to reflect the combination of the beautiful and the ugly within the same composition, was an unusual occurrence for his contemporaries. Later researchers note that the work of this artist, including The Seasons, indicate the beginning of the formation of new directions that open the Renaissance in the art of Europe.
Matisse Red Fish