Italian, 16th century, male.
Born c. 1527, in Milan; died 11 July 1593, in Milan.
Painter, decorative designer. Religious subjects, allegorical subjects, portraits, still-lifes. Designs for stained glass, designs for tapestries.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo belonged to a patrician family from Milan, which boasted three archbishops. Giuseppe, however, came from the 'poor' branch of the family. He was the son of Biagio and is assumed to have learned the rudiments of drawing and painting from his father, although no details of his training as an artist are known. His name first appears in a payment notice of 17 June 1551 in the cathedral construction records. He is believed to have gone to the court of the German emperors in 1561 and to have followed the court to its residences in Vienna and Prague.Arcimboldo enjoyed the successive patronage of Ferdinand I, Maximilian II and, in particular, Rudolph II. From 1562 to 1585 his name appears regularly in the court registers: he was paid 20 florins a month and often received additional sums from the imperial purse. A court painter, he was also commissioned to arrange courtly entertainments such as processions, cavalcades, balls and outdoor parties and it is thought that he may have invented the carousel. He was also a musician and devised 'a colormetric method of musical transcription' - a form of musical notation deciphered and performed on the harpsichord by the viol player Monzo. His biographers, Francine Legrand and Félix Sluys, liken this invention to 'present-day methods for synchronising music and film'. He also advised on the content of imperial collections and travelled for his patrons, acquiring works of art on their behalf.In 1587 he received his discharge from Rudolph II (who made him Count Palatine in 1591) and returned, his fortune made, to the city of his birth, where he died, according to the inscription on his tomb, in 1593 at the age of 63.He was buried at the church of S Pietro della Vigna (it no longer survives). On 28 November 1551, Arcimboldo painted five armorial bearings for the king of Bohemia and a decoration for the main door of the cathedral. In the years following he painted ducal coats of arms for the feast of the Virgin, executed a map of the region of Volpedo and repainted the cathedral façade. In collaboration with his father he drew cartoons for stained glass windows depicting the ...