Cartoonist, monumental painter
Born in Milan, Italy; a disciple and follower of Leonardo da Vinci, participated in the work on the Milan Council.
In 1562 he went to Prague as a titled portraitist of the imperial court.
For 27 years he tirelessly portrayed the faces, tastes and manners of the emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II and Rudolph II, as well as their wives, children and courtiers.
For the service he received the title of Margrave, by the end of his life he returned to his native Milan, where he died in 1593. Arcimboldo is known as the inventor of the “color keyboard”, although his work for a long time was lost to oblivion.
His work after the First World War was rediscovered by the Surrealists, who considered his fantastic paintings one of the links in the chain leading to surrealism.
Arcimboldo’s “compound heads” can at the same time be regarded as an application for the art of caricature and as an attempt to surpass it; its grotesque animals are harbingers of one of the most fertile trends in the art of caricature.
Apparently, Arcimboldo was not a caricaturist in the strict sense, his favorite means were oil paints, not pen and ink.
Nevertheless, he left a legacy on which to think, and the echoes of his works are felt in the works of some modern cartoonists, like Saul Steinberg or Michel Folon.
The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, 1981