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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

257: Summer

Summer is personified here as a fantastical man composed entirely from appropriate seasonal food. It was originally part of a now-dispersed set of The Four Seasons, inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s bizarre anthropomorphic paintings of the Seasons and Elements made for the Holy Roman Emperor as political allegories of Imperial dominion over nature and nations. Contemporaries praised Arcimboldo: ‘[he] unites the images of visible things and transforms them into strange inventions and images never before created by the power of fantasy’. Here attributed to Giovanni Stanchi (1608 – 72), or an artist in his circle, after Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526 – 93), Italy, later 16th century

Oil on canvas

Southampton City Art Gallery (18/1963)

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