Melencolia I

Melancholia I

1514
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)


Catalogue Raisonné

Bartsch (intaglio) 074; Meder 75, II, c(?)

Dimensions

Platemark: 23.9 x 16.8 cm (9 7/16 x 6 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

68.188

Medium or Technique

Engraving

Not On View

Collections

Europe, Prints and Drawings

Classifications

Prints

The moody, melancholic temperament was identified in the Renaissance not so much with depression as with exceptional creativity, and thus intellectuals and artists were closely associated with Melancholia. In Dürer’s depiction, the brooding, winged figure is surrounded by instruments relating to science and art, such as the compass, the hourglass, the scales, and the carpenters’ tools in the foreground.

Inscription

various graphite inscriptions on verso
"Ag.o" inscription in brown ink, located at bottom right recto

Markings

"P.L" black ink stamp in lower right corner (recto) - Peter Lely
Harris stamp in brown ink, bottom left (verso)
two mfa stamps (verso)

Provenance

P. Lely (Lugt 2092); Tomás Harris (England, 1908-1964); purchased through P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London by MFA April 10,1968

Credit Line

Museum purchase with a Centennial Gift from Landon T. Clay