Nature studies
by Giuseppe ARCIMBOLDO

In the middle of the sixteenth century the interest for natural sciences began to establish itself in European courts. Fascinated by the immeasurable wealth of new, hitherto unknown plants and animals from overseas and the New World, Grand Dukes Francesco I and Ferdinando I of Tuscany, Duke Francesco Maria II della Rovere, King Philip I of Spain, Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria and above all Maximilian II and Rudolf II all encouraged scientific research. Emperor Maximilian II, Arcimboldo's principal patron, recruited the most famous botanists of his time, and he had an equally large interest for animals.

There is a codex in the manuscript collection of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, which contains original studies of animals drawn from nature. Some of these drawings can be related to Arcimboldo's painting Earth, and it was suggested that Arcimboldo was the author of a group of drawings to be found in this codex (Codex min. 42). The contents of the codex are representations of animals and plants.

Two other codices in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, denoted as cod. min. 129 and 130 belonged to an ambitious undertaking which was later known as the "Museum of Emperor Rudolf II." They contain gouache paintings on parchment depicting mammals and birds. Most of the folios were created in the period between 1575 and 1611 with cooperation by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Hans Hoffmann, Dirck de Quade van Ravesteyn and Daniel Fröschel. None of the folios are signed and only one is dated.

Preview Picture Data Info
Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Red-flanked Duiker
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Watercolour
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Blackbuck
1570
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of a Goat's Deformed Hoof
1563
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
1575
Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of a Lesser Kestrel and Flowers
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Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
1578
Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
1577
Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
1576
Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Blue-Headed Quail-Dove
1577
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
1577
Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of a Helmeted Curassow
1571
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of a Featherless Three-Footed Chick
1571
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Nature studies
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Watercolour on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Composition with Animals
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Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of a Lizard, a Chameleon and a Salamander
1553
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Study of an Indian Mongoose
1572
Watercolour and gouache
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Mammals
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Mammals
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Birds
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Birds
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Birds
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna


Birds
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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna



Summary of works by Arcimboldo
Paintings
Early works in Milan
Portraits for the Holy Roman Emperor
Allegories of the Seasons and the Elements
Composite and reversible heads
Graphics
Nature studies
Costumes and drawings for court festivities
Treatise on silk culture and manufacture
Various drawings



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