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The Art of Melancholy Lecture at the Clark

For Immediate Release

February 11, 2011

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute hosts a stimulating free lecture by Michael Ann Holly, Starr Director of Research and Academic Program, on Thursday, February 24 at 5:30 pm. Accompanying the Clark’s current exhibition The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer, this free lecture explores the representation of melancholy in visual art, specifically in Dürer’s prints.

In this provocative lecture, Holly will use Dürer’s engraving Melencolia I as a starting point for her discussion about the fascinating ways in which the state of melancholy has been portrayed in visual art. According to Greco-Roman medicine, the four humors (Melancholy, Choleric, Sanguine, and Phlegmatic) defined human moods, emotions and behaviors. Melancholy was believed to be responsible for depression, apathy, and insanity; the advantage of being melancholic, however, was that this humor tended to be associated with the most creative and intelligent individuals, such as carpenters, mathematicians, grammarians, and artists. Holly will discuss how this psychic condition might be applied to the caretakers of art, such as curators, art historians, and even art viewers. She will then expand the focus of her lecture to address the melancholy or wistfulness that viewing art in a museum, out-of-context, time, and place can inspire in contemporary viewers.

Drawn entirely from the Clark's extensive holdings, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer features seventy-five of Dürer's graphics, including the iconic Hercules (1496), the Apocalypse series (1498), Nemesis (c. 1501), Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), and Melencolia I (1514). The Clark's Dürer collection numbers more than 300 objects and is considered to be among the best in North America. It has not been the subject of a comprehensive display in more than thirty-five years.

This exhibition was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and is proudly presented by Crane & Co.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

Calendar Listing

February 24—The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute hosts a stimulating free lecture by Michael Ann Holly, Starr Director of Research and Academic Program, on Thursday, February 24 at 5:30 pm. Accompanying the Clark’s current exhibition The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer, this free lecture explores the representation of melancholy in visual art, specifically in Dürer’s prints. The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and is proudly presented by Crane & Co. The Clark, 225 South Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 413 458 2303, clarkart.edu.

Contact:
pr@clarkart.edu

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