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The Cover
December 17, 2008


JAMA. 2008;300(23):2704. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.673

Fruit, vegetables, wood, and leaves comprising allegorical portraits representing each of the four seasons: this must be Modern art, surely, from the Surrealist school? Although his work appears bold and fresh, Milanese artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) painted during the 16th century. Arcimboldo descended from an aristocratic family, with at least two archbishops among his antecedents. The Arcimboldos, father Biagio and son Giuseppe, carried on the family tradition of producing cathedral art (including stained glass and baldacchini, altar canopies). Giuseppe received recognition during his early years for such ecclesiastical art, including the design of the first Gobelin tapestry. Mannerism, a style of art popular as the Renaissance faded, flourished in the royal courts of Europe: these hotbeds of power and wealth attracted the best and the most ambitious artists. Although a major center for art and culture in the mid to late 1500s, Milan could not match the glamor of the Hapsburg courts (in Austria and later in Bohemia), where Giuseppe landed as court painter to Holy Roman Emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II, and Rudolf II.

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