(b. 1526, Milano, d. 1593, Milano)
Self-Portrait on Paper1587
Pencil, pen and ink, wash and warecoloured ink, gray wash on paper, 442 x 318 mm
Palazzo Rosso, Genoa
In this drawing the artist has deployed his skill in rendering forms in a metamorphic way. In fact, even though fairly well disguised by an expert draughtsmanship, the true and unusual characteristics of this extraordinary portrait become fully apparent when it is examined from close-up: the features of the lips, the nose, the eyes and the single ear that is visible, as well as the hair, beard and wrinkles, are perfectly evoked by simulating a sort of mask of sheets of paper, carefully arranged in such a way as to flawlessly imitate a human face; other, longer strips reproduce the drapery of a robe or of the cloak, while the ones rolled up at the bottom of the face allude to the ruff.
This drawing ("The Man of Paper") constitutes the best example of the peculiar and bizarre art of Arcimboldo in the graphic filed.