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"Fantasy of an Orkin Man"

Piero di Comisol

Primarily a businessman, di Comisol ran the Florence branch of the popular pest-control company. In his idle moments he was quite a talented amateur painter, although most of his work was discovered only after his death from an accidental exposure to Rat-Be-Gone™ in 1521 at the height of the bubonic plague in that city.

Always shy of displaying his talents, Comisol put to canvas his fantasies on business and personal themes. Here is one of his best, where he depicts himself as a brave swordsman attacking a fantastic beast composed of many animals, quite an obvious sublimation of his role as a controller of noxious vermin, here depicted on the grand scale. He, as hero, is in the act of rescuing a young woman who has been identified as Britney Lanciae, the 17-year-old daughter of a local costermonger, whom Piero describes in his diary as "quite fair in the flesh, and unblushing about displaying same."

Alas, in his private life he kept more than his paintings in the closet. A tortured soul, he was secretly drawn to his cousin Reynaldo, although he dared not speak of his attraction for fear of public censure. How sad it is to see Piero depicting his unrequited love-interest as a flying youth, literally light in his loafers.


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