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Melancholia

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

c. 1615

Artist:

Domenico Fetti
Italian, about 1591/2-1623

About this artwork

In this elaborate allegory of the universal human emotion of melancholy, the paintbrushes, palette, and small sculpture in the bottom right reference the painter’s profession, and the hourglass, book, and compass speak to other worldly pursuits. Domenico Fetti also included an armillary sphere and telescope in the background on the left to reflect the scientific interests of the Mantuan court of his patron Ferdinando Gonzaga. These interests are further exemplified by the large, bluish sphere in the foreground illustrating the topography of the moon as had been observed only recently by Galileo. Yet the figure of Melancholia contemplates a skull: despite the achievements signified by the objects around her, their earthly value is fleeting, and death is unavoidable.

Status

On View, Gallery 211

Department

Painting and Sculpture of Europe

Artist

Domenico Fetti

Title

Melancholia

Place

Italy (Artist's nationality)

Date

c. 1610–1620

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

149.5 × 113 cm (58 7/8 × 44 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Joseph Winterbotham

Reference Number

2019.722

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/250762/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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