Sunday, August 14, 2011

Arcimboldo's Portraits of Food by Klaus Enrique Gerdes


Carl Warner's Foodscapes from the previous post has been rightly lauded over the past years, but his was not the first artworks to feature food in such a breathtaking manner. Photographer Klaus Enrique Gerdes takes his cue from the artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo in creating his fanciful portraits using fruits, twigs and flowers.

Gerdes is a commercial photographer, but just like Warner, he became famous for his colorful and detailed portraits of objects that are so meticulously arranged that you can't help but see faces staring back at you. Because of this, he is now more popularly known as the photographer inspired by Arcimboldo, although he came up with the concept on his own and later on stumbled upon the artist's work while researching for his portrait project.


Anyone who has dabbled in some art history will immediately find similarities between these photographs and the iconic artworks of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th Century painter who up to now is viewed as both a genius and oddity in the art world. Arcimboldo was a court painter for a couple of European Royalties, but it was his panache for painting portraits entirely made up of fruits, vegetables, plants and other inanimate objects that still captures the imagination of art enthusiasts the world over.

The first of Arcimboldo's portraits that Gerdes recreated (up at the very top of this post) is Vertumnus, the Roman god of fruit trees and plants. This particular portrait was actually based on the likeness of the Emperor Rudolf II, and as such is meant to be a double portrait of sorts. The next portraits are the seasons personified, with Winter and Spring above, and Summer below.

The next portrait below is that of The Gardener or The Greengrocer, one of Arcimboldo's cleverer works; not only does it contain the hidden face of a plump and bearded man, it also represents a bowl of vegetables if you turn it upside down. The last portrait of the lady in flowers is most probably a re-imagining of Arcimboldo's Ninfa Flora. If you haven't yet seen any of Arcimboldo's works, you should definitely see a few before going over Gerdes' fantastic recreations.


Even if you simply reduce these pictures as photography inspired by Arcimboldo, you cannot doubt the skill that went into carefully selecting the right produce that would form the face of each portrait, painstakingly arranging each individual leaf and petal according to how it would look in unison with the face, and correctly setting the lighting and camera equipment in order to capture these faces at their most flattering angle.

Gerdes has obviously refined his skill as viewers are treated to both an image of flowers and fruits and an actual portrait. As he puts it, "...simple organic objects come together to create something more meaningful than the sum of its parts."


Klaus Enrique Gerdes has managed to create five portraits in Arcimboldo's style, although there is a chance that he will create more wonderful portraits. His website has more of his photography, along with his Facebook page which is updated regularly. Finally, don't forget to read up on Giuseppe Arcimboldo himself and find out more weirdly beautiful portraits from centuries past.

23 comments:

Shaw said...

These are so cool!

Major.Mack said...

This Is awesome

D4 said...

The first thing I thought was "wait, I remember something like this, what's that artists name?!" and then you reminded me. Arcimboldo. Oh man the memories a photograph alone can bring. A photograph I hadn't seen eve, that's just great.

Mr Jack House said...

Nothing but curious pleasures, as from thence Following!

DWei said...

Oh wow these are all really nice but the last one is especially intricate.

GADAFINY said...

wow!!!no need for words

Fang said...

Haha, onion-face.
But wow, more artistic use of vegetables and plants. Interesting~

Diego Sousa said...

ents! ENTS! everywhere!

Electric Addict said...

those people look so delicious i could eat them!

Natália said...

Fucking awesome! I saw some of his work when I was in D.C. last year at the Smithsonian. I even bought a magnet! ;-)

Awesome blog! I'm totally following!

Natália said...

And just to clarify, by "him" I mean Giuseppe Arcimboldo! :)

Jammer said...

great photo idea

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

delicious post

Admin said...

Those are crazy!
And pretty cool.

MRanthrope said...

these are creepy. really creepy. haha

StigmataHandjob said...

This is the first one of your posts that made me hungry.

Dale said...

The bottom one is so cool and I kinda forgot about art using food although I really like paintings that have different fruits and veggies in them. I've always wanted to have one hanging in my kitchen :) I think it would inspire me to eat healthier too hehe

Cool post
-Dale

Reilly said...

fruity!

A Heel in Mint said...

That's so amazing! Very creative!!

T. Roger Thomas said...

I vaguely remember my psychology instructor telling our class that a person with a severed corpus callosum wouldn't be able to process this type of art. They wouldn't be able to see both the fruits and veggies and the human face they compose. Weird.

Kenneth Tso said...

For some reason, I'm hungry now...

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay, thank you for posting about my work. The last image is not a reinterpretation of an Arcimboldo painting. Instead is a creation of mine based on a photograph of Princess Diana done in an Arcimboldesque way. I am really glad you like them! :) Klaus

Jay said...

Hi Klaus, thanks for the additional info. Merry Xmas! :D

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