The Librarian (painting)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Librarian (1566) is a painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
In this painting, Arcimboldo used objects that signified the book culture at that time, such as the curtain that created individual study rooms in a library. The animal tails, which became the beard of the portrait, were used as dusters. By using the everyday objects, the portraits were decoration and still life paintings at the same time. His works showed not only nature and human beings, but also how close they were related.
After the portrait was released to the public, some scholars, who had a close relationship with the book culture at that time, argued that the portrait ridiculed their scholarship. In fact, Arcimboldo criticized the phenomenon of the rich people’s misbehaviour and showed others what happened at that time through his art. In The Librarian, although the painting looked ridiculous, it criticized some wealthy people who collected the books in order to satisfy their ownership, instead of to read the books.