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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Melencolia I

Artist:
Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg)
Date:
1514
Medium:
Engraving; second state
Dimensions:
sheet: 9 9/16 x 7 7/16 in. (24.3 x 18.9 cm) trimmed to plate line
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
19.73.85
Not on view
The winged figure in Melencolia I has inspired many readings over its long history, although her ties to mathematical knowledge are often highlighted. Many of her accoutrements are borrowed from medieval and Renaissance allegories of geometry that personify it as a woman working at a table surrounded by tools. Perhaps most notably, a truncated rhombohedron looms large in the middle distance, dividing the foreground—a scene replete with the detritus of measurement—from the limitless background of a placid sea that vanishes into the horizon, presumably the type of natural territory the geometer purports to measure.
Vendor: Junius Spencer Morgan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," May 6, 1996–July 28, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picturing Math: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints," January 31, 2017–May 1, 2017.

Koehler 70.ii; B.VII.87.74; Schoch, Mende, and Scherbaum 71ii
Rainer Schoch, Matthias Mende, Anna Scherbaum Albrecht Dürer, Das druckgraphische Werk. Prestel, Vol. 1-3, Munich; London; New York, 2001–2004.



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