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A human portrait made up of flowers - this is how Giuseppe Archimboldo's work, entitled Flora, can be described. Face and collar are made of buds and petals, and the clothes themselves are made of falling leaves.
On the head is a bright wreath in the center of which is a red lily. From the collar, in its lower part, a yellow lily peeps out like a flashlight. At the same time, the portrait turned out to be like a living one. The eyes have their own expression. It seems that the flora from the portrait is watching us. This can only be achieved by a true master of painting.
Archimboldo liked the freshness and originality of the ideas of King Rudolph, to whom this painting was intended as a gift, which became one of the artist's later works. Previously, he experimented with a similar theme, creating portraits from the gifts of nature and various objects. Thus appeared his famous cycle "Seasons". True, the theme of male portrait is mainly exploited there. In general, in the genre of portrait still life with Arcimboldo, men are much more common.
Here we see a woman who smiles. Is it because the flower petals are so delicate and so close to each other? After all, the author of the picture had to show the female body. Therefore, it should not have sharp rough transitions. It must be devoid of any brutality. It must be a real goddess of flowers. But, alas, she looks old: all the same, the contours of the flowers resemble wrinkles, but the old woman’s face can also be beautiful, if it is illuminated by a smile and a radiant look.
Flora is not an old woman, but rather a middle-aged lady, wise by experience. This is evident from her gaze. There is no ardor characteristic of young creatures, its condition is balanced, kindness is written on the face, but a slight irony is felt, like a spark in the eyes.
Apollinaris Vasnetsov Pictures