Melancholy, 1532 Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553), German
Cranach’s “Melancholy” certainly draws its inspiration from an engraving executed by Albrecht Dürer
on the same subject in 1514. A theme of melancholy originates from the medical theory of four humours, whereby disease or ailments were thought to be caused by an imbalance in one or another of the four basic bodily fluids, or humours. In contrast to its negative connotations during the Middle Ages, this condition was equated during the Renaissance with the artistic temperament and was considered to be the catalyst for all artistic creation.