Albrecht Dürer 'Melencolia I' (Detail) 1514, Engraving
Dürer’s personification of the melancholic temperament in his most famous print, Melencolia I, showed a brooding, inactive figure who sits under an hourglass, weighed down by her own thoughts and surrounded by the unused tools of creative endeavour and scientific research. Dürer’s representation was based upon the belief current in Renaissance humanist circles that melancholy was associated not so much with depression and madness as with exceptional creativity.
Albrecht Dürer [German Northern Renaissance painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist, 1471 – 1528]
National Gallery of Victoria: www.ngv.vic.gov.au/col/work/43335