Arcimboldo: Nature into Art

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was a painter born in Milan, Italy and active in the latter half of the 16th century at the Hapsburg court in Vienna and later in Prague.

Arcimboldo was a multifaceted “court entertainer”, whose unique and whimsical works gained favor with Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor and lover of rare artworks.

Arcimboldo’s name is primarily and widely remembered as the creator of numerous allegorical portraits, where the subject’s form is made up of a truly ingenious combination of unrelated motifs, such as fruit, vegetables, fish and books. These strange, cipher-like paintings, in which it is hard to separate the interactions between fantasy and reason, surprise, stimulate and amuse the senses and invite interpretation. They proved to be a major stimulus for the Surrealists and later artists of the 20th century.

This exhibition focuses on approximately 10 oil paintings by Arcimboldo lent by major museums worldwide, and will provide a means to understanding the secrets of the creation of the painter’s imaginary world, along with his influence on his successors. We hope that visitors will enjoy this first introduction in Japan of Arcimboldo’s weirdly witty and wonderful artistry.

Highlights of the Exhibition


The first major exhibition in Japan of the works of the genius court painter, Arcimboldo.


Arcimboldo’s works from all over the world will be displayed together in Tokyo. Masterpieces “Spring”, “Summer”, “Autumn” and “Winter” will be miraculously assembled together.


Introduction of Arcimboldo’s multifaceted activities as the art director of the Hapsburg court.


Examine the artistic background which produced Arcimboldo’s work such as the drawings from the school of Leonardo.


  • Period

    Tuesday, 20 June 2017 – Sunday, 24 September 2017

  • Venue

    The National Museum of Western Art [Tokyo, Ueno Park]
    7-7 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007

  • Closing Days

    Mondays, 18 July
    *except Monday 17 July, 14 August, 18 September

  • Hours

    9:30 am – 5:30 pm, 9:30 am – 8:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays
    *Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time

  • Organized by

    The National Museum of Western Art, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Asahi Shimbun

  • With the sponsorship of

    Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., BREMBO

  • With cooperation of

    Alitalia-Campagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A.,
    The Western Art Foundation

  • General Inquiries


  • Press Related Inquiries

    Arcimboldo Exhibition P.R. Executive Office (located inside Youth Planning Center)
    Hulic Shibuya 1-chome Bldg. 3F, 1-3-9 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8551


  • Admission
    College students
    High school students
  • At the door
    1,600 yen
    1,200 yen
    800 yen
  • Advance/ Group
    1,400 yen
    1,000 yen
    600 yen

*Junior high school and younger children admitted free of charge.
*Group discount tickets: more than 20 persons.
*Disabled visitors admitted free of charge with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.

Buy Ticket!


  • Curator of the Exhibition

    Silvia Ferino-Pagden (Art Historian, Former Head of Gamäldegalerie, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien)

  • Curator in Charge of the Japanese Side

    Shinsuke Watanabe (Curator, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)

  • Production and Administration

    The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
    NHK Promotions Inc.
    The Asahi Shimbun

  • Special Cooperation


・JR Yamanote Line, 1 minute from Ueno Station, Park Exit
・Keisei Line, 7minutes from Keisei Ueno Station
・Ginza or Hibiya Subway Lines, 8 minutes from Ueno Station
*There is no parking at the museum. Due to very limited parking availability near the NMWA, please use public transportation to access the museum.

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【アルチンボルドの魅力】現代の私たちも驚く、"精密な描写"や"組み合わせの妙"。ですが、絵に隠された様々なメッセージを知ると、さらに彼の"凄さ"がわかります。きっと当時の皇帝たちも、自分しかわからない秘密の暗号を見つけ、ニヤリとしたのでしょう。 例えば≪水≫のトゲトゲ(難易度1)
【ポスター・チラシ】ご覧いただいた方、ありがとうございます!メインビジュアルの日本初公開作品≪春≫は、細部まで繊細に描れた作品で、描かれた花・草葉の種類は合わせて80種! "スズラン"の歯や"ラベンダー"の眉毛など、アルチンボルドらしい、奇抜でオシャレな創造力が発揮されています。
Twitterはじめました(やっと)。 6月20日から国立西洋美術館(東京・上野)で開催する「アルチンボルド展」の見どころや、作品の解説などをお伝えしていきます。 彼は、およそ450年前の画家です。代表作の連作『四季』を描いているころ、日本では織田信長が活躍していました。