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Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Milan 1526 - 1593
Price range
1,000,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Arcimboldo is an idiosyncratic artist known for his portraits composed of fruits, vegetables and other still lifes – an original invention that achieved instant success and inspired 20th-century artists to deem him the Father of Surrealism.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born in Milan, the son of a painter Biagio. Under the patronage of Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, his early career focused on ecclesiastical commissions, including work for the cathedral in Milan, Monza and Como. Nothing in his early work hints at the fantastical creations he would create for the Hapsburg court in Vienna and later in Prague.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

662,500 $
1,194,291 $
1,432,500 $


There is only one fully-attributed painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo sold in public auction in the last thirty years. The sales are: Christie’s New York – 6 June 2012 lot 34 (catalogued as ‘follower of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’), Sotheby’s London – 3 July 2013 lot 32 (catalogued as ‘workshop of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’), and Sotheby’s New York – 28 January 2000 lot 129.
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Books on Arcimboldo

Sylvia Ferino-Pagden, ed., Arcimboldo: Artista milanese tra Leonardo e Caravaggio, exh. cat. Milan, 2011.

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Arcimboldo: Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting, Chicago and London, 2009.

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, The Mastery of Nature: Aspects of Art, Science, and Humanism in the Renaissance, Princeton, 1993.

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