Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and books.
These works form a distinct category from his other productions. He was a conventional court painter of portraits for three Holy Roman Emperors in Vienna and Prague, also producing religious subjects and, among other things, a series of coloured drawings of exotic animals in the imperial menagerie. He specialized in grotesque symbolical compositions of fruits, animals, landscapes, or various inanimate objects arranged into human forms.
The still-life portraits were clearly partly intended as whimsical curiosities to amuse the court, but critics have speculated as to how seriously they engaged with Renaissance Neo-Platonism or other intellectual currents of the day.