Melencolia, after Albrecht Dürer
23.7 cm x 18.5 cm (9 5/16 in. x 7 5/16 in.)
Jan Wierix (aka Johan Wierix)
(Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium, circa 1549 - circa 1618, Brussels, Belgium)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Whereas Wierix’s copied Dürer’s Adam and Eve while in his teens, this meticulous recreation of Melencolia I is the work of a fully mature, highly capable technician. Deviations from Dürer’s original are thus difficult to spot. The greatest distinction between the two remains the copy’s harsher tonal transitions. On Melancholy’s left arm, for example, Dürer produces a soft, seamless transition between the parallel strokes on the inside of the arm to the minute flecks of the burin running towards the center. Wierix renders these two elements separately, first producing the parallel lines, then executing a flurry of randomly placed dots toward the center.