Zoom in on 'Melancholia', c. 1514, by Albrecht Dürer

Black and white print of an angel

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Information about this work

'Melancholia' is as mysterious as it is influential. Against a landscape backdrop, the artist has assembled objects and instruments connected with making things, especially scientific aids for drawing in perspective. Melancholy is personified by a darkfaced, winged woman, crowned with laurel as a poet.

It is an image that is said to reflect the neo-Platonic belief of Marsilio Ficino, in his 'De Vita Triplici' (Florence, 1489), that melancholy is an essential element of intellectual creativity.