L'été par Guiseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (about 1527-1593)
Oil on canvas

© Musée du Louvre, Cliché G. Blot/RMN

Arcimboldo paintings associate the spectacle of the portraits to the realism of the plants represented.

To the historian, such testimonies are invaluable, because they clearly document the presence of particular plant species or varieties in 16 th century Italy.

In “Summer”, a corn ear (introduced from the Americas after 1492), a brown eggplant (introduced from Asia by the Arabs and arrived to Europe in the 15 th century), and a prickly artichoke similar to several Italian local present day varieties may be observed.