Run-of-the-mill food art is always entertaining, but gargantuan heads composed of fiberglass fruits and vegetables are particularly awesome. Contemporary artist and filmmaker Philip Haas has transformed a series of paintings by Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo into four 15-foot-high sculptures. The impressive pieces—on display at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx through October 27th—are based on Arcimboldo’s “Four Seasons” paintings, a series of composite heads made up of fruits, vegetables, trees, fungi, and other natural matter that the artist used to personify Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
The eccentric Arcimboldo’s painted produce portraits were basically a seasonal eating guide for 16th century Italy: Winter, a wrinkly old man, is donning a cravat made of winter citrus, while Summer has an eggplant lodged in his skull and ears made of corn. Like the paintings he appropriated from, Haas’ sculptures keep the seasonal food theme alive.
The Four Seasons sculptures have been displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, the Gardens of Versailles in France, the Dulwich Picture Gallery in the United Kingdom, and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Haas tells NPR that the colossal 3-D sculptures “are quite elastic–they respond to the environment.” He notes that when the sculptures were on display in Phoenix last month, Summers’ cucumber nose suddenly looked like a cactus. Now that’s hyper local produce, realized.