Don’t miss “The Four Seasons” at N.Y. Botanical Garden

We’re so pleased to share another wonderful post from guest blogger, Lynne Perrella (  She visited the New York Botanical Garden a few weeks ago and was so impressed with their newest exhibit she wanted to make sure our readers knew about it, too.  Thanks again, Lynne, for so generously contributing to our website.

Celebrate the Seasons…..ALL four of them!
By Lynne Perrella


“The Four Seasons”
New York Botanical Garden
Exhibit continues through October 27th.

Portrait_GA-7_Pretend for a moment that you are a monarch. An all-powerful emperor.  A regal personage.  You’ve commissioned an artist to do your portrait.  The moment for the great unveiling is here–and you behold the outcome. Er, um, well. Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor, probably had not anticipated that Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) would choose to depict him with a pear for a nose, apples for cheeks, and green peas as eyelids.

(See “Vertumnus”, painted in 1591, left) But, against all odds, the portrait received regal recognition and Milanese artist Arcimboldo continued his unique series of so-called “composite” portraits; eventually creating a series based on the Four Seasons.

Fast forward to 2013, and the amazing (current) exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden. Artist and film-maker Phillip Haas has created a series of epic-sized dimensional fiberglass sculptures based on the Arcimboldo “Seasons”. [click images to enlarge]

These engaging, charismatic and totally unique sculptures are staged in a chess-board-like arrangement in an elegant outdoor garden, replete with clipped boxwood hedges and gravel pathways. Towering above the viewer, the sculptures are (literally) head and shoulders above the humdrum world, convincing viewers that we have tumbled down the rabbit hole with Alice. And, just like Arcimboldo, Haas displays a love of fanciful flora and fauna, rustic roots and twigs, lavish vegetation and vines…and makes it all seem “more so” by presenting the portraits in three dimensions, large and in charge.  Like the seasons themselves, each sculpture creates a singular vibe.  Gentle, benevolent “Spring” is flower-encrusted, seemingly the only female in this grouping. “Winter” wears an edgy crown of tangled barren twigs, and a tenacious grimace. An edging of feathery shafts of wheat tickle his chin but he seems resolutely moody.
“Summer” consists of burgeoning fruits spilling out of a bodice of tightly-woven rush.  Stately “Autumn” features tapestry-hued vegetables, tangled vines, and a bushel-basket collar.  It was impossible to have a favorite.  The portraits do not make eye contact…not with one another, and certainly not with us. They just–are.

If work in YOUR garden has gotten a bit stalled out and you are looking for fresh inspiration, plan a visit to the New York Botanical Garden. It is one of those unfailingly life-affirming places, even for non-gardeners.  And I can almost guarantee that your encounter with the four colossal “Seasons” will lift your eyes and your spirits!