The Atlanta Botanical Gardens currently features four portrait busts representing Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter by contemporary artist Philip Haas towering 15 feet above its green lawns. These enormous fiberglass Seasons are equally as bizarre as the Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-93) paintings that they derive from. Although the original format of these portraits was small and intimate, it seems in tune with Arcimboldo’s Baroque style to place them as large garden ornaments.
The busts retain the curious mix of expressiveness that teters between exuberant and menacing. The looming size no doubt adds to the menacing aspect. Of the four, hoary and regal Winter was my favorite–rather than mere fancy, he looks like a tree come alive. Should you have a chance to visit the gardens though, a second exhibition called “Imaginary Worlds” shows you even more anthropomorphic vegetation. Large animals and such have been formed out of shaped vegetation, continuing the Baroque fantasy on the grounds. Both exhibitions are up through October.