A depressed scholar surrounded by mythological figures; representing the melancholy temperament. Etching by J.D. Nessenthaler, ca. 1750.

  • Nessenthaler, Johann David, 1717?-1766.
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A scholar stands with a knife behind his back and his hand on his head. The devil stands behind him and a goddess with an apple (fruit of knowledge) before him. Beneath is a stone with a fresco of a winged god holding a child upside down by its foot (Oedipus?). In the bottom-left hand corner is Minerva, goddess of wisdom (at the top of the print is an owl, one of her attributes)


Aug[usta] V[indicorum] [Augsburg] : Johann Michael Probst

Physical description

1 print : etching ; platemark 32 x 18.3 cm


Melancholicus. Solitudo paradisus quide non omnib, vero semper,/ Societatem fugere multis exitio fuit: ... Ioh. Dav. Nessenthaler. inv. del. et. sc. Ioh. Michael Probst exc. Aug. V. CPSCM. £ median folio no. 3 Lettering continues: "Nam hominum nemo sibi solus est natus,/ At homo homini soepe iam Deus fuit. Ein Melancolicus ist süchtig zum studiren./ doch pflegt die Einsamkeit ihn leichtlich zu verirren./ Weit besser ist demnach in der Gesellschaft sehn,/ indem es selten gut, wenn einer ganz allein."


Wellcome Collection 26893i


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