Allegory of Melancholy - XVIIth century
Salvator ROSA (Entourage de) (Naples 1615 - Rome 1673) Allegory of Melancholy Oil on canvas, H. 72 cm; L. 91 cm Provenance: Private collection of Bordeaux The Allegory of Melancholy is represented by a large number of objects, subjects and ideas. Our canvas possesses a rare profusion which we shall enumerate. The man in a position of reflection. The human skull held in his hand, which he looks at. On the entablature we find the hourglass symbol of the time elapsed. The bread and wine symbolize the memory of Christ through communion. The gospel on which man is leaning seems to show a renunciation of perfection. On the floor on the left, musical instruments (violin and flute), a portrait drawn and a book illustrate moments of life that will no longer be realizable. Above, the oil lamp returns us to Psyche, using it to brave the interdict by discovering the beauty of Eros bare and asleep. The owl perched on the makeshift frame refers to the night and the darkness of which it is the living symbol. The ancient ruins depicting lost beauty and abandonment. The storm raging outside as if the weight of the world had come to bear on man. The decapitated obelisk, like a guardian of a temple collapsing. The boat sinking on the coast. Abel and Cain in full brawl dropping the idea of ??family love. The tomb opened in the image of the violated burial which demonstrates the inexistence of eternal rest. And finally, the weapons and armor arranged in the foreground, like the glory of great battles set aside forever. These different elements arranged in a nocturnal landscape, charged and full of light brings us closer to the different allegories of Melancholia known as that of Albrecht Dürer or even of Salvator Rosa whose style is very close. This oil that can be dated around 1650 is very difficult to locate geographically. Several trails can bring us closer to Dutch or Flemish painters and others of the contemporaries of Rosa in Italy. The man in Oriental costume can direct us on a Neapolitan painter where the Mediterranean cultures are easily accessible.