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Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy - documentary DVD / art and artists DVD review
ARCIMBOLDO, 1526-1593: NATURE AND FANTASY Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 4 stars
Narration: Isabella Rossellini
Director: Carroll Moore   Distributor: Microcinema DVD
DVD release: 28 September 2010   Runtime: 30 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Closed captioned, Exploring Arcimboldo's Earth, Gallery of works of art

Arcimboldo's *Man in the Vegetables*Several Renaissance ideas converge in the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th-century Milanese artist who combined highly realistic renderings of natural objects into evocative portraits of royalty and commoners.

One thread was a newfound appreciation of the natural world as something evolving independent of both man and the mind of God. Like Albrect Durer, who died about the time Arcimboldo was born, animals and plants are painstakingly portrayed in life-giving detail. Another thread that runs through Arcimboldo's work is the idea of new worlds: his paintings literally see new worlds amidst the old.

A favorite of the court of the Holy Roman Empire, his paintings were subsequently forgotten for centuries. Early in the 20th century, though, his work experienced a revival as his images were hailed by the Surrealists as evidence of the human mind's long fascination with the power of the recombinatory.

This short film does a fine job of introducing this fascinating artist's work in historical context. Unlike some critics, who have argued that Arcimboldo must have been deranged to paint such bizarre images, this National Gallery of Art presentation puts the artist squarely in the middle of his milieu, one that was fascinated by puzzles, riddles and multiple meanings. Far from being a madman at the fringe, Arcimboldo was a busy artist and designer of festivals.
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reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
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