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Illusion of the Week: Monumental Arcimboldo

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Spring (Photo Credit: Anthony Barnhart)

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is home to Philip Haas’ monumental sculpture installation, “The Four Seasons” until April 28, 2013. We visited last week, and were amazed by the sheer size (each piece is over 15 feet tall) and beauty of the art. Inspired by the famous portraits of 16th century Italian Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo, each of Hass’ four sculptures represents a season. “Spring”, “Summer”, “Autumn” and “Winter” are fiberglass composites of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and related seasonal objects. The Sonoran desert surrounding the sculptures provided the perfect backdrop for the exhibit. All in all, a feast for the eyes.

For more examples of illusions made out of food, read our November/December 2010 Scientific American Mind article, “Hungry for Meaning”.

Summer (Photo Credit: Anthony Barnhart)

Autumn (Photo Credit: Anthony Barnhart)

Winter (Photo Credit: Anthony Barnhart)


Susana Martinez-Conde About the Author: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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