This is driving me crazy. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre. There were two or three pictures in a row that featured people made entirely out of fruits, vegetables, and, I believe, grains. Can anyone tell me who painted them and what they are called? I would be most appreciative. I googled a variety of terms, but nothing of interest came back. Thanks.
Today’s your lucky day! I remember this picture from an art book I had when I was a kid. I just googled “Face made up of fruit” - and here’s the only answer that came up: Giuseppe Arcimboldo. A very odd character.
You’re thinking of the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593). His best-known painting of this sort is The Gardener. He specialized in arranging fruit, vegetables, and other plants and foods into remarkable likenesses of people.
This technique eventually bore “fruit,” so to speak, in the 20th century with the “Paranoiac-Critical” method of Salvador Dalí.
The most unsavory ones are where he uses fish and seafood, or insects.
I don’t think there’s a real official term. People just say “Archimboldo paintings” and everyone nods and knows exactly what is meant.
You might be interested in this MetaFilter thread I started in November; it contains a best-of selection of Arcimboldo links.
There are people made of fruit? Like Carmen Miranda?
This is, perhaps, a little off-topic, but when I visited the Lenin Museum in Moscow, a significant proportion of the gallery was devoted to portraits of Lenin in various materials:
I was tremendously impressed by the portrait of Lenin done in grain … it sounds silly, but the artist had gone to incredible trouble to make a mosaic-like image of Lenin, fully utilizing different sizes and shades of various grains. It looked really good - but I can’t find an Internet image, sorry.
I have a related question. I vaguely remember reading a book a few years back that featured these paintings as a key plot point. That’s not much to go on, but does that ring a bell with anyone?
Just read John Clute’s Appleseed, which goes into Arcimboldo at some point … could it be that?
I saw these paintings in my high school psychology class on some special about patients who had the halves of their brains separated. Apparently they could discern only faces when looking at the paiting through one eye, and only fruit from the other.