Lucas Cranach

An Allegory of Melancholy

About this artwork

Although melancholy is now usually understood as a lack of cheerfulness or tendency to depression, its meaning in Cranach’s time was more complex. Melancholy was one of four humours making up the human temperament and determining character. Here it is represented by the female figure in the foreground, whittling a stick and accompanied by other symbols. The group of witches riding in the sky alludes to the melancholic propensity for magic and devilry.

Lucas Cranach

Lucas Cranach