Arts Everyday Living: The Art of Reading—Visionary Librarian & A Link to Dali?

Reposted blog.





Would you like to make the acquaintance of The Librarian or Wolfgang Lazius, director of the Imperial library circa 1562?  Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s quasi-human portrait of this prominent bibliophile and scholar is constructed of printed treasures: the hair literally an open book, topping a face and torso stacked with impressive volumes belonging to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I.*

As court painter, the artist was also commissioned to immortalize Ferdinand’s successor Rudolph II in a unusual cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and flowers (see: painting plus link to Arcimboldo works at the end of the blog.) Both paintings are located now in Skokloster Castle near Stockholm, confiscated later by the Swedish army from Arcimboldo’s Habsburg employers during Europe’s Thirty Years’ War.

In spite of his success, Arcimboldo’s visions were generally ignored for centuries after his death until their revival in the 1930s, influencing Surrealist masters like Salvador Dali.


Giuseppe Arcimboldo, The Librarian, c. 1562, oil (possibly a copy after the original?), Skokloster Castle, Sweden



*According to description of the Skokloster Castle museum.



Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Rudolf II of Habsburg as Vertunnas, 1590, oil, Skokloster Castle, Sweden


The above works of art are used solely for educational purposes.

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