Thursday, 13 August 2020


Most famously portrayed in Milanese Mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s 1590 portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II with a fruit and vegetable filter—Arcimboldo’s signature work as well, signifying the age of prosperity under his reign, Vertumnus is the shape-shifting deity of the seasons and metamorphosis and is celebrated with festivities (fasti) on this day on the Roman calendar.
Suitor of Pomona, the goddess of gardening and fruitful abundance—a hamadryad, that is a kind of nymph that lives in trees, Vertumnus seduced her in her orchard, having earned her confidence in the guise of an old woman, whom procedures to lecture her on the dangers of rebuffing advances, and this myth is considered to be the first Latin one, not derivative of earlier Greek traditions—the domesticated nature of landscaping and tending fruit trees perceived as too tame for the woodland spirits yet neither something as intensive—or fickle and dependent on the favour of the gods as agricultural activities. The god’s statue in a temple near the Forum Romanum was hewn from maple trunk and decorated according to the changing seasons typified by vestments made of the turning of leaves.