Melancolia I, Albrect Dürer, 1514

Melancolia I

Melancolia I, Albrect Dürer, 1514

In the Renaissance, it began to be understood that melancholia, AKA depression, was often part of the nature of creative geniuses. This engraving looks at that theme. Also…

“One of the most amazing displays of Dürer’s intellect at work here is the mathematical “magic square” seen beneath the bell at upper right. The sixteen squares of its 4 by 4 grid contain the numbers one through sixteen, arranged in such a way that the sum of any row, column, or diagonal is 34. Incredibly, the same sum may also be obtained from adding the four corner squares, the four center squares, the corners of any 3×3 square, or at least two dozen other symmetrical geometric patterns within the figure. Try seeing how many more you can find.”



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