CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Allegory of Melancholy

Oil and tempera on wood, 113 x 72 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The winged personification, the tools arranged at her feet, the ball, the dog and the writing on the wall reveal the primary source used by Cranach for this and three other works: Albrecht Dürer's masterly engraving Melencolia I of 1514.

This panel, the earliest of Cranach's treatments of the subject to have survived, has been cropped on all sides, but particularly on the right, thus the powerful wings of the seated woman is cut off.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Vincenzo Bellini: Malinconia, ninfa gentile