The Librarian (painting)
71 x 97 cm
Skokloster Castle, Håbo Municipality, Sweden
Not only did Arcimboldo use fruits, vegetables, plants, and animals as objects for the compilations in his paintings, he also used inanimate objects such as books and papers. The Librarian is one such painting. In this painting, Arcimboldo’s subject is obvious: a lover of books made up out of books. This is an example of the painter’s ability to be less literal. Whereas in other paintings, he shaped singular pieces of fruit or meat into the eyes, nose, or curve of the chin, in this painting, the pile of books only resembles a person, and upon closer inspection, the features become less clear. This is an example of Arcimboldo’s great talent of disguising his objects into the form of a person, or as in this case, disguising his person into the form of his objects.