File:Dürer Melancholia I.jpg

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Date 1514
Medium copper plate

Melancholia I The bat-like creature flying through a night sky declares the subject of this famous engraving: Melancolia I. That dark temperament is personified by a female figure seated in the foreground. The winged infant beside her is a 'genius' (in the ancient sense, meaning an accompanying spirit).

Melancholy has wings and from her belt hang keys and a money bag, symbolizing power and wealth. She is surrounded by measuring instruments. Above her head is a panel of 'magic' numbers (they add up to 34 in all directions). At her feet are the tools that can fashion the material world. Yet she does nothing: lost in thought, she turns away from the light.

Renaissance philosophers had suggested a new interpretation for melancholy, as the temperament of genius (in the modern sense). Melancholy was possessed by artists, in whom 'Imagination' predominates; 'Reason' dominates scholars; while the final stage of 'Spirit' was the preserve of theologians. If this interpretation is correct, Dürer has presented us with a portrait of his mental behaviour, as he knew about the danger of too much spirital work as an artist. Although he was born in the name of mercure, not saturn and therefor after a letter from Beheim to Pirckheimer, not a melancholic.
Source/Photographer [1]


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current16:09, 27 December 2012Thumbnail for version as of 16:09, 27 December 20123,146 × 4,000 (8.97 MB)Jan Arkesteijn (talk | contribs)Reverted to version as of 10:54, 6 October 2012, useless lossy edit
07:43, 27 December 2012Thumbnail for version as of 07:43, 27 December 20123,056 × 3,921 (6.47 MB)YuviPanda (talk | contribs)Replacing with cropped versions
10:54, 6 October 2012Thumbnail for version as of 10:54, 6 October 20123,146 × 4,000 (8.97 MB)Jan Arkesteijn (talk | contribs)higher resolution
14:15, 28 May 2010Thumbnail for version as of 14:15, 28 May 20102,192 × 2,831 (5.15 MB)Rainer Zenz (talk | contribs)
09:30, 31 January 2007Thumbnail for version as of 09:30, 31 January 20072,196 × 2,835 (2.06 MB)Donarreiskoffer (talk | contribs){{Information |Description=Melancholia I |Source= |Date= |Author= Albrecht Dürer |Permission= |other_versions= }}
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