|Artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo|
|Dimensions 70 cm x 58 cm|
|Subject Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, Vertumnus|
Media Paint, Oil paint, Panel painting
Similar Giuseppe Arcimboldo artwork, Oil paintings
Vertumnus is a painting by Mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo produced in Milan c. 1590–1591. The painting is Arcimboldo's most famous work and is a portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II re-imagined as Vertumnus, the Roman god of metamorphoses in nature and life; the fruits and vegetables symbolize the abundance of the Golden Age that has returned under the Emperor's rule.
Looking from the distance, Arcimboldo's whimsical portraits might look like portraits, but they are assembled using vegetables, books, plants, kitchen utensils, oils, fruits, sea creatures, animals and tree roots, each individual object chosen to give the impression of anatomical trait of a human face. The portrait of the emperor is created out of plants – flowers and fruits from all seasons: gourds, pears, apples, cherries, grapes, wheat, artichokes, peapods, corns, onions, artichoke, cabbage foils, cherries, chestnuts, figs, mulberries, grapes, plums, pomegranates, various pumpkins and olives. Rudolf's portrait is composed of fruit, vegetables and flowers were to symbolize the perfect balance and harmony with nature that his reign represented. These portraits were an expression of the Renaissance mind's fascination with riddles, puzzles, and the bizarre. Arcimboldo's traditional religious subjects were later forgotten, but his portraits of human heads composed of objects were greatly admired by his contemporaries. The painting Vertumnus is part of the collection at Skokloster Castle in Sweden.