I am in love…. with this painting of the Roman Goddess of Spring, flowers and fertility, "Flora-Meretrix", by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593). This is the more sensual version of his Flora paintings and I love the way he softened the flowers to create a sense of flesh (almost as if she were wearing a lacey body stocking) and in contrast, he gave the other flowers, which create her hair and garment, a sense of hyper-reality. What a challenge it would be to reinterpret even a detail of this glorious painting, in reclaimed embroidery.
When I was in Paris in 2010 I walked through miles of galleries in the Louvre to see the Arcimboldo paintings, only to learn that they were all on loan to Madrid. I was quite disappointed.
This particular painting has always been held in private collections and has only been exhibited to the public once in four hundred years - in Vienna in 2014. What I wouldn't have given to have seen her in the flesh!