Celebrating Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Food Art

Mmmm...Food. I love food. What is your favorite food?


I have to believe that Giuseppe Arcimboldo loved food. I wonder if, as a child, he played with his food? He certainly did as an adult. I mean, I am not sure if he played with his food at the kitchen table or not...though, now that I am thinking about it, I suppose it would not surprise me to find out that he did play with his food as an adult...and perhaps it is where the ideas for his art sparked.

You see, Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an artist with a very unique style. He created portraits out of food and common item found around the hose or in nature. Fruits, vegetables, fish, leaves, sticks, even books! He pieced and painted these items together on a canvas in such a way that, somehow, a portrait of a person appeared! Creative? Oh, yeah! Creative, colorful and detailed. Much more detailed than any cute Pinterest smiley face plate I have ever seen. But, I wonder if that is where it started for Giuseppe. A bowl full of fruit and veggies, rearranged on a table, and VIOLA! An idea for a masterpiece is born.


Now, I suppose by now with all the artists we have studied and styles they created, portraits made out of food probably would not surprise anyone, right? Certainly, Pop Artists from the 60s would have come up with that idea. And I think that is one of the things that blows me away when I look at Arcimboldo's work - you see, Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born on April 5, 1526. He was a Renaissance Artist, born in Milan, Italy. (I wonder if being born in Italy explains his love for food?) He is considered a Mannerist painter and his collage style portraits are certainly what he is known best for.


I thought it would be fun to celebrate Giuseppe Arcimboldo's birthday with some fun Food Art. You are welcome to create a collage piece of objects to create a portrait, like Arcimboldo did. You could also decide to simply create a still life of food - fruit, vegetables, flowers, cookies...whichever works best for you. :) OR you can play around with the ideas, like I did, and create a personified food character.


I have secretly had this idea in my head for a while now, since the beginning of the school year when I came up with the idea to create some kind of food character art. So, I was pretty darn excited it was finally time to make this. I started this project with a pencil, an eraser, and a sketchbook. And then I let my imagination run wild. "What personalities would different fruits have?" Oranges are in Florida where there are lots of beaches and sun. Apples are for the teacher and keep the doctors away. Blueberries are super high in antioxidants, so that seems like a pretty smart food, too. Hmmm...what other personalities can you think of for food?


After playing in my sketchbook and settling on my beachy orange girl, it was time to create my final project. I chose watercolors for this project, but you and your artists are welcome to use whatever medium you feel most comfortable with. For my final project, I used:


- pencil

- eraser

- watercolor paper

- water

- cup for water

- paper towels

- watercolors

- watercolor brushes (#6 & #14 Round)

- colored pencils for finishing touches.


I love watercolors for so many reasons. Two of the biggest would be the easy cleanup and the limited number of supplies needed to start a projecct.


In the end, I really liked the way my beachy orange lady turned out. She looks like she is ready for some summer days at the water...and quite frankly, so am I! The video for this project can be found below. As always, feel free to contact me if you need any help. I would love to help you on your creative journey. I hope you have fun "playing with food"! Happy arting, everyone!




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