Lot 129
  • 129

Circle of Giuseppe Arcimboldo

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo
  • Anthropomorphic allegory of summer
  • oil on canvas
  • 52 7/8  by 38 in.; 134 by 96.5 cm.


Anonymous sale, Venice, Semenzato, 25 October 1987, lot 133 (as Pietro Paolo Bonzi, with its pendant Autumn).


G. Bocchi and U. Bocchi (eds.), Pittori di natura morta a Roma, artisti Italiani 1630-1750, Viadana 2005, pp. 273, 275, and 318, reproduced in color (as Giovanni Stanchi, possibly from his workshop, and location unknown).

Catalogue Note

Milanese by birth, Giuseppe Arcimboldo found huge fame and success at the courts of Vienna and Prague for his unusual anthropomorphic designs such as the present set of four Seasons. Celebrated for their wit and artifice, the composite heads were much imitated in the artist’s lifetime and his idiosyncratic style arguably makes him the most modern sixteenth-century painter, whose work continued to resonate with artists well into the twentieth century, particularly with the Surrealists and Salvador Dalí.

The author of this high quality Allegory of Summer (along with the following lot, Allegory of Autumn) was clearly aware of Arcimbolodo's work, and their core influence is indeed that of the Milanese inventor of this anthropomorphic type. This particular figurative composition, however, may have originated in the studio of the Roman still life specialist Giovanni Stanchi (Rome circa 1645-1672), who presided over a hugely successful family workshop in the decades following the death of Caravaggio. A set of the Four Seasons, in which the same two allegories are depicted, and which may be by Stanchi as well, were sold New York, Christie's, 6 June 2012, lot 34, for $662,500.