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Melencolia I

Public Domain

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Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Albrecht Dürer

German, 1471-1528

Melencolia I, 1514

engraving

sheet; image area: 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (23.49 x 18.41 cm); mat: 19 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches (48.89 x 36.19 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Gift of Willis O. Chapin, 1891

1891:4.74

More Details

Class

Prints

Work Type

Engraving (print)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

On his extended travels to Venice and Bologna, Albrecht Dϋrer studied humanist philosophy and the art of the Italian Renaissance, and he incorporated what he learned into his graphic production. In Melencolia I, an angel personifing “genius” is seated among symbols of creative activity in architecture, astronomy, carpentry, geometry, mathematics, and metallurgy. The angel appears to have fallen into a mournful gloom from which her vaunted imagination cannot raise her. Here, Dürer suggests that the spark of creativity can be stymied by melancholy, like a lead weight on the wings of inspiration.
 
While only a limited number of copies of this print exist due to the limitations of the copperplate printing process, the Albright-Knox holds two impressions in its collection. Both works were gifts: this one by Willis O. Chapin in 1891 and another by Frederic P. Norton in 1999

Label from Albrecht Dϋrer: Highlights from the Collection, May 2, 2014–July 6, 2014

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