Albrecht DÜRER
Melencolia I 1514

Albrecht Dürer’s personification of the melancholic temperament in this print, one of his most famous works, shows a figure deep in contemplation, holding a compass and surrounded by an hourglass and the tools of creative endeavor 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, as with exceptional creativity. This image has been interpreted by some scholars as a self-portrait.