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(b ?Milan, c.1527; d Milan, 11 July 1593). Milanese painter and designer, famous for his allegorical or symbolical ‘portraits’ in which he arranged objects such as fruits and vegetables into the form of the human face. He began his career as a designer of stained-glass windows for Milan Cathedral, and subsequently worked on frescos and tapestries for the cathedrals of Monza and Como. However, he then changed course: from 1562 to 1587 he was employed successively by the emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II, and Rudolf II (see Habsburg), first in Vienna and then in Prague, and nothing in his previous work anticipates the bizarre heads he produced for them.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)