Fruit and Vegetable Faces: inspired by Arcimboldo (November 2013)


The sixteenth century Italian artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593), is famous for his extraordinary series of portraits in which the facial features of his sitters are portrayed as arrangements of fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish and other objects.

One of his most important patrons was Rudolf II of Habsburg, who commissioned a number of Arcimboldo’s unusual portraits, including the one to the right, which portrays Rudolf as Vertumnus, the Roman god of seasons, gardens and fruit trees. 

This is a really fun project for young children, which I have done before. You can see my previous post by clicking here.

I started the session by showing the children some pictures of Arcimboldo’s fruit and vegetable portraits, including this fun portrait, The Gardener or Vegetables in a Bowl (Museo Civico, Cremona), which is reversible!













This time I was working with a particularly young group of children, including a couple of under-threes, so instead of asking them to cut out the fruits and vegetables themselves, I decided to cut them out prior to the session. I wanted to give them plenty of time to enjoy the process of playing with different components to compose their faces.

They had so much fun making these faces, and it’s easy to see why! 

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