Nicolaus Juvenel c. 1559
Renaissance Metal Art - Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Etching, derived from an ancient Germanic word for ‘eat’, uses corrosive acids to bite designs into hard surfaces like metal. The background can either be eaten away so the design stands out in relief, or the design itself can be bitten into the surface. The technique creates a shallow relief making it possible to create highly decorated objects without compromising the structural integrity of the metal making it suitable for items like weapons, locks and tool. Between 1500 and 1750 production centred on southern Germany and northern Italy where etched armour was a speciality.
Padlock and Key, c 1580
Southern Germany, Steel
Helmet (Morion), c 1580
Northern Italy, Steel
Gauntlet, c 1580
Northern Italy, Steel
Thigh Defence (Cuisse), c 1515-1525
Augsburg, Southern Germany – Steel
Barrel-Maker’s Knife, 1702
Germany – Steel, brass
Casket, c 1570-1600
Cranequin, c 1565-1574
Southern Germany, Steel-wood-rope
On this day in 1593, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the Milanese painter best known for his portraits made of still life objects, died in his hometown. Arcimboldo trained with his father Biagio, with whom he worked in Milan Cathedral. Giuseppe was paid through 1558 for supplying paintings, designs for an altar canopy, and stained-glass window designs for the Milanese Duomo. In 1562 he was appointed court portraitist to Emperor Ferdinand I in Vienna, and later, to Maximilian II and his son Rudolf II at Prague.
Though primarily known for his fantastic heads composed of still life objects, Arcimboldo in fact painted numerous conventional religious subjects and traditional portraits. However, it is his human heads made up of flowers, vegetables, fruit, animals, sea creatures and tree roots that continue to fascinate and amuse viewers today, just as they did in the Renaissance. Some of these “portraits” read as a still life when turned upside down. The heads are allegorical representations of abstract concepts—the Seasons or the Elements, for example—that are composed of items closely associated with the ideas that they personify. Summer is a portrait made from the grains, fruits, and vegetables that are plentiful during that season. Water is built up in a configuration of creatures, shells, and corals found in the ocean, just as Air is composed of birds who make the sky their home. Arcimboldo spent almost all of his professional life working for the Habsburgs in Vienna and Prague, and his paintings are usually understood as glorifications of imperial rule. Widely admired in their own time, Arcimboldo’s works were also celebrated in the twentieth century by the Surrealists.
References: Thomas Dacosta Kaufmann. “Arcimboldo, Giuseppe.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T003904>; Helen Langdon. “Arcimboldo, Giuseppe.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/opr/t118/e96>; Elena Pavoledo. “Arcimboldi, Giuseppe.” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. <http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/giuseppe-arcimboldi_(Dizionario-Biografico)/>.
Vertumnus, c. 1590, oil on panel, Skoklosters Slott, Bålsta (Stockholm)
The Vegetable Gardener, 1587-90, oil on wood, Museo Civico “Ala Ponzone,” Cremona
The Librarian, c. 1566, oil on canvas, Skoklosters Slott, Bålsta (Stockholm)
Maximilian II, His Wife and Three Children, 1563, oil on canvas, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Reversible Head with Basket of Fruit, c. 1590, oil on wood, French & Company, New York
Scenes from the Life of St John the Baptist: Naming of the Baptist, 1545, fresco, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, Milan
Baldaquin de la basilique Saint-Pierre de Rome, Le Bernin, 1624-1633.
Photo: cc http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jean-Christophe_BENOIST?uselang=fr http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/
Christoph Murer c. 1598
Design for a Stained Glass Window
Admiral Sir John Harman
Saint Yves at La Sapienza, Rome
Verrocchio c. 1475-1478
Giuliano de Medici (detail)
Francesco Camillani c. 1586
Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome