Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Melencolia I Albrecht Dürer

Melancolia I
Melencolia I is a 1514 engraving by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. It is an allegorical composition which has been the subject of many interpretations. One of the most famous old master prints, it has sometimes been regarded as forming one of a conscious group of Meisterstiche ("master prints") with his Knight, Death and the Devil (1513) and Saint Jerome in his Study (1514).

It is ironic that this image of the artist, paralyzed and powerless, should exemplify Dürer's own artistic power at its superlative height.

One interpretation suggests the image references the depressive or melancholy state and accordingly explains various elements of the picture. Among the most conspicuous are:

-The tools of geometry and architecture surround the figure, unused
-The 4 × 4 magic square, with the two middle cells of the bottom row giving the
       date of the engraving: 1514. This 4x4 magic square, as well as having
       traditional   magic square rules, its four quadrants, corners and centers equal
       the same  number, 34.

-The truncated rhombohedron with a faint human skull on it. This shape is now
       known as Dürer's solid; over the years, there have been numerous articles
       disputing the precise shape of this polyhedron
-The hourglass showing time running out
-The empty scale (balance)
-The despondent winged figure of genius
-The purse and keys
-The beacon and rainbow in the sky
-Mathematical knowledge is referenced by the use of the symbols: compass,
       geometrical solid, magic square, scale, hourglass.  Source:  Wikipedia
       Durer's icon of Melancholy portrays the dangers of obsessive study.
       Note the many symbols of mathematics and alchemy.

Source:  Biografías y Vidas

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