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Musée du Luxembourg
Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Musée du Luxembourg. Until 13 january 2007.

arcimboldo musee du luxembourg

Strangely, Arcimboldo  (1527 - 1593) left only two dozen of paintings. A tiny work for an artist so universally known. Since years, his allegories are reproduced per million everywhere. Everyone saw at least once one of these recomposed faces, semi satire, semi caricature. That makes the exhibition of the Museum of Luxembourg all the more exceptional, because it gather a great number of these dispersed works. The Italian department of the Museum of Vienna is the principal supplier, Arcimboldo lived 25 years in this city, with the service of the Habsbourg emperors. Our national Louvre keep the whole Four seasons cycle. All the paintings concern the same optical challenge, to join together fruits, vegetables, plants, animals in a composition restoring a human face. From close, the eye distinguishes each component, by far, the face is recomposed. A visual virtuosity, an illusion of artist. Arcimboldo knew the glory and the fortune during his life due to these anthropomorphic puzzles which deserved the admiration of the Palatine court. Vienna was then a laboratory of aesthetic experiments. This unic exhibition recalls us the history of an immense Viennese laugh.

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