Privileged Piety: Melancholia and the Herbal Tradition

Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saint Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This article is concerned with melancholia, a disease of fashion in the early modern era, which was associated with qualities of genius, privilege, and piety. Focusing on melancholia’s contradictory humoral qualities, which instigated both heightened inspiration (heat) and depressed spirits (cold), this study maintains that artists exercised calculated iconographical choices in depictions of hermits and scholars, both melancholic archetypes. Specifically, painters reinforced medical tradition by the knowing use of botanical imagery to suggest melancholia’s ambivalent nature and the necessity of achieving humoral balance in its cure.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2009.1.2.1

Acknowledgements

Research for this article, which is related to my book-length study The Dark Side of Genius: Art and the Melancholic Persona, 1500-1700, was made possible through the assistance of the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. I also thank Wayne Franits for his generous bibliographic assistance. Unless otherwise indicated, translations are mine.

Aertgen van Leyden,  Saint Jerome, 1520,  Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Fig. 1 Aertgen van Leyden, Saint Jerome, 1520, oil on panel, 48 x 38 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. SK-A-3909, on loan to the Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden, inv. no. SK-A-3903 (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Melencolia I, 1514,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 2 Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, 1514, engraving, 31 x 21 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1943 (43.106.1) (artwork in the public domain)
 The Geocentric Universe, page 4 from Peter Apia,
Fig. 3 The Geocentric Universe, page 4 from Peter Apian, Cosmographicus liber (Antwerp: Gemma Frisius, 1533) (artwork in the public domain)
 The Four Temperaments,  ca. 1450, Zentralbibliothek, Zürich
Fig. 4a The Four Temperaments, ca. 1450, colored woodcuts. Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, Ms. C101, fols. 25v and 26r (artwork in the public domain)
 The Four Temperaments,  ca. 1450, Zentralbibliothek, Zürich
Fig. 4b The Four Temperaments, ca. 1450, colored woodcuts. Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, Ms. C101, fols. 25v and 26r (artwork in the public domain)
 Children of Saturn, from a block-book,  15th century, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin
Fig. 5 Children of Saturn, from a block-book, 15th century. Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (artwork in the public domain)
Hieronymus Bosch,  Saint Jerome at Prayer,  ca. 1480,  Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Fig. 6 Hieronymus Bosch, Saint Jerome at Prayer, ca. 1480, oil on panel, 80.1 x 60 cm. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 7 Albrecht Dürer, Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514, engraving, 24.7 x 18.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.68) (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Saint Jerome by the Willow Tree,  ca. 1512,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 8 Albrecht Dürer, Saint Jerome by the Willow Tree, ca. 1512, drypoint, 21 x 17.9 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund 1919 (19.73.67) (artwork in the public domain)
Jan van Eyck (or follower),  Saint Jerome in His Study,  ca. 1441(?),  Detroit Institute of Arts
Fig. 9 Jan van Eyck (or follower), Saint Jerome in His Study, ca. 1441(?), oil on linen paper on oak panel, 20.6 x 13.3 cm. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 25.4 (artwork in the public domain)
Gerrit Dou,  Hermit in Prayer,  ca. 1635,  Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Fig. 10 Gerrit Dou, Hermit in Prayer, ca. 1635, oil on panel, 57 x 43.5 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Gal. Nr. 1711 (artwork in the public domain)
 Great Water Dock, page 389 from John Gerard, T,
Fig. 11 Great Water Dock, page 389 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 12 Rhubarb (Great Water Dock)
Fig. 12 Rhubarb (Great Water Dock)
Pieter Leermans,  Praying Hermit,  ca. 1680,  Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Fig. 13 Pieter Leermans, Praying Hermit, ca. 1680, oil on panel, 41.5 x 33 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Gal. Nr. 1779 (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 14 Thistle
Fig. 14 Thistle
 Our Ladies-Thistle, page 1150 from John Gerard,,
Fig. 15 Our Ladies-Thistle, page 1150 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, l633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 16 Columbine
Fig. 16 Columbine
 Columbine, page 1093 from John Gerard, The Her,
Fig. 17 Columbine, page 1093 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saint Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 18 Rembrandt van Rijn, Saint Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648, etching and drypoint, 18.2 x 13.4 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.19.1) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 19 Pollarded willow trees
Fig. 19 Pollarded willow trees
Willem Moreelse,  Portrait of a Scholar, 1647,  Toledo Museum of Art
Fig. 20 Willem Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar, 1647, oil on panel, 82.8 x 67 cm. Toledo Museum of Art, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, acc. no. 62.70 (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 21 Detail, Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar.
Fig. 21 Detail, Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar.
 Euphorbium, page 615 from Rembert Dodoens, Cruy,
Fig. 22 Euphorbium, page 615 from Rembert Dodoens, Cruydt Boeck (Antwerp, 1644) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 23 Euphorbia
Fig. 23 Euphorbia
 Butter-burre, page 814 from John Gerard, The H,
Fig. 24 Butter-burre, page 814 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 25 Butterbur
Fig. 25 Butterbur
'Virtus laudata crescit' page 28 from Hernando de,
Fig. 26 ‘Virtus laudata crescit,’ page 28 from Hernando de Soto, Emblemas Moralizadas (Madrid: Juan Iñiquez deLequerica, 1599) (artwork in the public domain)
  1. 1. On Saint Jerome and religious melancholia, see Laurinda S. Dixon, “An Occupational Hazard: Saint Jerome, Melancholia, and the Scholarly Life,” in In Detail: New Studies of Northern Renaissance Art in Honor of Walter S. Gibson, ed. Laurinda S. Dixon (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), 69-82.

  2. 2. For the legend of Saint Jerome, see Jacobus da Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. and ed. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1983), 10. For images of Saint Jerome, see Eugene F. Rice, Jr., Saint Jerome in the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) and Bernhard Ridderbos, Saint and Symbol: Images of St. Jerome in Early Italian Art, trans. P. de Waard-Dekking (Gröningen: Bouma’s Bookhuis, 1984).  

  3. 3. Since the literature devoted to melancholia is vast, the notes here are much abbreviated. For a survey of the development of melancholia from a humoral disorder to a psychological one, see Byron Good and Arthur Kleinman, eds., Culture and Depression: Studies in the Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Psychiatry of Affect and Disorder (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985) and Stanley W. Jackson, Melancholy and Depression from Hippocratic Times to Modern Times (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986). Women, though they suffered identical symptoms, were excluded from the realm of ‘genius,’ which distinguished male melancholics. Instead, their symptoms were attributed to uterine displacement and were labeled ‘hysteric.’ See Laurinda Dixon, Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

  4. 4. For the reception history of Dürer’s Melencolia I, see Peter-Klaus Schuster, ‘Das Bild der Bilder: Zur Wirkungsgeschichte von Dürer’s Melancholiekupferstich,’ Idea: Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunsthalle 1 (1982): 73-134. Despite the title, supplied by Dürer, scholars have interpreted the theme more specifically as a representation of geometry, astronomy, or the quadrivium.

  5. 5. Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1964), prefigured in Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl, Dürers ‘Melencolia I’: Eine quellen- und typengeschichtliche Untersuchung, Studien der Bibliothek Warburg 2 (Leipzig and Berlin: B. G. Teubner, 1923).

  6. 6. See Jean Clair, et al., Mélancolie: Genie et folie en Occident, exh. cat., Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris (2005), for the visual tradition of melancholia from the medieval era through contemporary times.

  7. 7. In general, the term “scientific revolution” defines the move from a faith-based theoretical system of beliefs to an intellectual tradition derived from empirical observation and experimentation, which happened gradually from about 1400 to 1800. See key studies by Stephen Gaukroger, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) and A. Rupert Hall, The Scientific Revolution, 1500-1800 (London, New York: Longmans, Green, 1954).

  8. 8. Although the concept of the bodily humors was familiar by the time of Hippocrates in the fifth century bce, the formal explanation of humoral theory is generally credited to him. See Hippocrates, The Nature of Man, in Works of Hippocrates, trans. and ed. W. H. S. Jones and E. T. Withington (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1923-31), vol. 4. For a modern discussion of humoral principles, see Benjamin Farrington, Greek Science: Its Meaning for Us (Baltimore: Penguin, 1961).

  9. 9. Another system of healing, the doctrine of signatures, matched like cures to like illness; for example, imbibing distillations of venom to cure snakebites.

  10. 10. For explanations and illustrations of the elemental, humoral, and astrological systems, see S. K. Heninger, Jr., The Cosmographical Glass: Renaissance Diagrams of the Universe (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1977).

  11. 11. See Nigel F. Palmer, ed., Apokalypse, Ars Morendi, Biblia pauperum, antichrist: Fabel vom Kranken Loewen, Kalendarium und Plantetenbuecher, Historia David; Du Lateinisch-Deutschen Blockbuecher des Berlin-Breslauer Sammelbandes; Staatliche Muzeum zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinette (Munich: H. Lengenfelder, 1992).

  12. 12. Hippocrates, The Nature of Man, 3-41. See also Ludwig Edelstein, ‘Greek Medicine, Its Relation to Religion and Magic,’ Bulletin of the History of Medicine 5 (March 1937): 201-46.

  13. 13. For Plato’s concept of divine inspiration, see Hellmut Flashar, Melancholie und Melancholiker in den medizinischen Theorien der Antike (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1966), 60-62.

  14. 14. Aristotle, ‘Problem 30,’ quoted in its entirety in Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy, 18-29.

  15. 15. On the mingled concepts of genius, geniality, and ingenio, see Winfried Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia in the Renaissance (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1991), 19-51.

  16. 16. Marsilio Ficino, De Vita (Three Books on Life), trans. and ed. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Tempe, Az.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies in conjunction with the Renaissance Society of America, 1989).

  17. 17. Ficino’s innovations were expanded and championed by Henry Cornelius Agrippa (De Occulta Philosophia, 1533), Giovanni della Porta (De humana physiognomonia, 1586), and many others. See Jackson, Melancholia and Depression, 78-103; and Daniel Pickering Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975).

  18. 18. For the transmission of ancient theories of melancholia to the Christian West via the importation of the Arabic treatises, see Mary Frances Wack, Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: The Viaticum and Its Commentaries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990).

  19. 19. The merging of these three aspects of medieval thought was a complex phenomenon, wrought by the deft interweaving of Greek philosophy, Catholic liturgy, and Arabic science characteristic of scholasticism. See Stanley W. Jackson, ‘Acedia the Sin and Its Relationship to Sorrow and Melancholia,’ in Good and Kleinman, eds., Culture and Depression, 43-62; and Rainer Jehl, Melancholie und Acedia: Ein Beitrag zu Anthropologie und Ethik Bonaventuras (Paderborn: F. Schöningh, 1984).

  20. 20. Constantino L’Africano, L’Arte Universale della Medicina, trans. M. T. Malato and Umberto de Martini (Rome: Roma, 1961), 49.

  21. 21. See Peter Harrison, “Reading the Passions: The Fall, the Passions, and Dominion Over Nature,” in The Soft Underbelly of Reason: The Passions in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Stephen Gaukroger (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 49-78.

  22. 22. For discussion of divine melancholia, see Michael Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries (Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1995) and Jackson, Melancholy and Depression, 330-41.  

  23. 23. André du Laurens (Laurentius), A discourse on the preservation of the sight: of Melancholike diseases; of rheumes, and of old age, trans. Richard Surphlet (1599; repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1938), 85-86.

  24. 24. On the vice of acedia in the context of religious melancholy, see Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable, 45-49; and Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and Liberature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967).

  25. 25. For the dissemination of Saint Jerome’s legend and attributes, see Peter G. Bietenholz, “Erasmus von Rotterdam und der Kult des heiligen Hieronymus,” in Poesis et Pictura: Studien zum Verhältnis von Text und Bild in Handschriften und alten Drucken; Festschrift für Dieter Wittke zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Stephen Füssel and Joachim Knape (Baden-Baden, 1989), 191-220; and Joseph Klapper, “Aus der Frühzeit des Humanismus: Dichtungen zu Ehren des Heiligen Hieronymus,” Bausteine: Festschrift Max Kochzum 70.Geburtstag (Breslau: M. and H. Marcus, 1926), 225-28.

  26. 26. For discussion of Bosch’s various treatments of the Saint Jerome theme, see Laurinda Dixon, Bosch (London: Phaidon, 2003), 164-72.

  27. 27. Dürer’s Saint Jerome in His Study is one of the three “great engravings,” including Melencolia I and Knight, Death and the Devil, produced between 1513 and 1514.

  28. 28. Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, 1955), 359.

  29. 29. According to Robert Grigg, “Studies on Dürer’s Diary of his Journey to the Netherlands: The Distribution of the Melencolia I,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 49 (1986): 398-409.

  30. 30. For these saturnine iconographic associations, see Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy, 133-58.

  31. 31. The visual association of Saint Jerome with earth and rock also occurs in several Italian versions of the theme. Well known are paintings by Giovanni Bellini (Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Kress Collection) and Bartolomeo di Giovanni (Florence, Galleria dell’ Accademia).

  32. 32. The attribution of this painting to Van Eyck is questioned. Once attributed to Petrus Christus, it is has been suggested that the work is an early copy of a lost original by Jan van Eyck.

  33. 33. See Ingvar Bergström, “Medicina, Fons et Scrinium: A Study in Van Eyckean Symbolism and Its Influences in Italian Art,” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957): 1-20.

  34. 34. See Ronni Baer, “Image of Devotion: Dou’s ‘Hermit Praying,'” Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 67 (1995): 22-23; Volker Manuth, “Denomination and Iconography: The Choice of Subject Matter in the Biblical Painting of the Rembrandt Circle,” Simiolus 22 (1993-94): 235-52; and Catherine B. Scallen, “Rembrandt’s Reformation of a Catholic Subject: The Penitent and the Repentant Saint Jerome,” Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (Spring 1999): 71-88.

  35. 35. For the debate on enthusiasm, see Andrew Fix, Prophecy and Reason: The Dutch Collegiants in the Early Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

  36. 36. Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is, All the Kinds, Causes, Symptoms, Prognostics, and Several Cures of it (1621; repr. New York: W. J. Widdleton, 1865), 3:389. An authoritative compendium of knowledge about melancholy since ancient times, Burton’s book embodied the early modern fascination with the disease and spanned the popular and scholarly reading public. See Angus Gowland, The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy, Robert Burton in Context (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) on the many contexts of Burton’s encyclopedic treatise. On Burton’s attitude toward religious melancholy, see Michael Heyde, ‘Robert Burton’s Sources on Enthusiasm and Melancholy: From a Medical Tradition to Religious Controversy,’ History of European Ideas 5 (1984): 17-144.

  37. 37. For the seventeenth-century distrust of enthusiasm, see Fix, Prophecy and Reason; Heyde, Be Sober and Reasonable; Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion, With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950); and Jeremy Schmidt, Melancholy and the Care of the Soul: Religion, Moral Philosophy and Madness in Early Modern England (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2007).

  38. 38. Meric Casaubon, A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasme: as it is an effect of nature: but is mistaken by many for either divine inspiration or diabolical possession (1656; repr., Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1970).

  39. 39. Henry More, Enthusiasmus triumphatus (1565; repr., New York: AMS Press, 1993).

  40. 40. See Ronni Baer, Gerrit Dou 1613-1675: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2000), 13033; and Catherine B. Scallen, ‘Rembrandt and Saint Jerome,’ PhD diss. (Princeton, 1990), for interpretations of these objects as vanitas symbols indicating the hermit’s triumph over death through Christian prayer and scriptural study.

  41. 41. See Volker Manuth et al., Wisdom, Knowledge and Magic: The Image of the Scholar in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art, exh. cat., Agnes Etherington Art Center, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (1996), 64-75; and Rudolph Velhagen, “Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst vom 15. bis zum 20 Jahrhundert,” in Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst von 15. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel (1993), 8-26. 

  42. 42. Ronni Baer, “The Paintings of Gerrit Dou (1613-1675),” PhD diss., New York University, 1990, identifies at least ten such depictions by Dou known to exist in modern collections.

  43. 43. For early modern art and botany, see F. de Nave and D. Imhof, eds., Botany in the Low Countries (End of the 15th Century-ca. 1650), exh. cat., Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp (1993); Pamela O. Long, “Objects of Art/Objects of Nature: Visual Representation and the Investigation of Nature,” and Claudia Swan, “From Blowfish to Flower Still Life Paintings: Classification and Its Images, circa 1600,” both in Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, ed. Pamela H. Smith and Paula Findlen (New York: Routledge, 2002), 63-82 and 109-36.

  44. 44. For a succinct and cogent history of the development of herbals, see Frank J. Anderson, An Illustrated History of Herbals (New York, 1977).

  45. 45. Ficino, Vita, 291.

  46. 46. John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (London: Adam Islip, 1633), 387-92. Gerard’s massive 1633 edition was based largely on a pre existent translation of Dodoens’s Latin herbal of 1583.

  47. 47. Melinda Parsons and William M. Ramsey, “The Scarlet Letter and an Herbal Tradition,” ESQ 29 (1983): 199-207, identify the plant as burdock, which has smaller leaves than water dock, and maintain that it signifies lust.  

  48. 48. Gerard, Herball, 1149. See also Hortus sanitatis (Mainz, 1410), chap. 65; and discussion by Frank Anderson, The Illustrated Bartsch: Herbals through 1500, Commentary to Vol. 9 (New York, 1984).

  49. 49. For discussion of toads as embodiments of evil in the Christian tradition, see Jeffrey Hamburger, “Bosch’s Conjuror: An Attack on Magic and Sacramental Heresy,” Simiolus 14 (1984): 4-23.

  50. 50. Gerard, Herball, 1150-391.

  51. 51. For the Marian symbolism of the columbine, see Robert A. Koch, “Flower Symbolism in the Portinari Altar,” Art Bulletin 46 (March 1964): 70-77.

  52. 52. Gerard, Herball, 1092-94.

  53. 53. For Rembrandt’s treatments of Saint Jerome, see Scallen, “Rembrandt and Saint Jerome,” and Scallen, “Rembrandt’s Reformation of a Catholic Subject.”

  54. 54. For Rembrandt prints, see Clifford S. Ackley, Ronni Baer, and Thomas E. Rassieur, Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004).

  55. 55. H. Perry Chapman, Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity (Princeton, 1990), 26-33, cites the intellectual environment at Leiden as a source for Rembrandt’s interest in melancholia.

  56. 56. See Oskar Diethelm, Medical Dissertations of Psychiatric Interest Printed Before 1750 (Basel and New York: S. Karger, 1970); and Just Emile Kroon, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van het geneeskundig onderwijs aan de Leidsche Universiteit (Leiden: Van Doesburgh, 1911).

  57. 57. Susan Donahue Kuretsky, “Rembrandt’s Tree Stump: An Iconographic Attribute of St. Jerome,” Art Bulletin 56 (1974): 517-80.

  58. 58. See Anderson, Illustrated Bartsch, “solis alba – white willow,” on the analgesic properties of the willow tree.

  59. 59. On the modern practice of pollarding, see Minnesota Tree Care Advisors, “Pollarding: What Was Old Is New Again,” See http://www.mntca.org/Newsletter/pollarding.htm.

  60. 60. See W. N. Hargreaves-Mawdsley, History of Academical Dress in Europe Until the End of the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1964), 176; Marieke de Winkel, “Eene der deftigsten dragten: The Iconography of the Tabbaard and the Sense of Tradition in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Portraiture,” in Beeld en zelfbeeld in de Nederlandse kunst, 1550-1750 / Image and Self-Image in Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 46 (1995): 144-67; and Marieke de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006), 27-50.

  61. 61. See Toledo Museum of Art, European Paintings (University Park, 1976), no. 128.

  62. 62. In 1652, the famous herbalist Nicholas Culpeper would use this same quotation in the preface of The English Physitian: an astrologo-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation (London: William Bentley, 1652).

  63. 63. Toledo Museum of Art, European Paintings, 114-15.

  64. 64. Rembert Dodoens, A New Herbal, or historie of plantes (London: H. Lyte, 1619), 222-23; Gerard, Herball, 1178.

  65. 65. Ficino, Vita, 1:159; 3:249.

  66. 66. Gerard, Herball, 1180.

  67. 67. “Purgat flegma, secundario melancoliam”: The Herbal of Rufinus, ed. Lynn Thorndike (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946), 129.

  68. 68. Gerard, Herball, 813-14.

  69. 69. Dodoens, New Herbal, 17.

  70. 70. Ficino, Vita, 3:113.

  71. 71. “Bien la virtud alabada, Se prueua en el quanto crece, Y lo much que florece, Tan dignamene premiada”: Hernando de Soto, Emblemas moralizadas (1599; repr., Madrid: Fundación universitaria Española, 1983).

Ackley, Clifford S., Ronni Baer, and Thomas E. Rassieur. Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2004.

Anderson, Frank J. An Illustrated History of Herbals. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.

——. The Illustrated Bartsch: Herbals through 1500, Commentary to Vol. 9. New York: Abaris Books, 1984.

Baer, Ronni. ‘The Paintings of Gerrit Dou (1613-1675).’ PhD diss. New York University, 1990.

——. “Image of Devotion: Dou’s ‘Hermit Praying.'” Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 67 (1995): 22-23.

——. Gerrit Dou 1613-1675: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2000.

Bergström, Ingvar.”Medicina, Fons et Scrinium: A Study in Van Eyckean Symbolism and Its Influences in Italian Art.” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957): 1-20.

Bietenholz, Peter G. “Erasmus von Rotterdam und der Kult des heiligen Hieronymus.” In Poesis et Pictura: Studien zum Verhältnis von Text und Bild in Handschriften und alten Drucken: Festschrift Für Dieter Wittke zum 60. Geburtstag, 191-220. Edited by Stephen Füssel and Joachim Knape. Baden-Baden: Koerner, 1989.  

Burton, Robert. Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is, All the Kinds, Causes, Symptoms, Prognostics, and Several Cures of it. 1621. Reprint, New York: W. J. Widdleton, 1865.   Casaubon, Meric. A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasme:as it is an effect of nature: but is mistaken by many for either divine inspiration or diabolical possession. 1656. Reprint, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1970.  

Chapman, H. Perry. Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.  

Clair, Jean, et al. Mélancolie: Genie et folie en Occident. Exh. cat. Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris, 2005.   Constantino L’Africano. L’Arte Universale della Medicina. Translated by M. T. Malato and Umberto de Martini. Rome: Roma, 1961.

Culpeper, Nicholas. The English Physitian: an astrologo-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation. London: William Bentley, 1652.  

Diethelm, Oskar. Medical Dissertations of Psychiatric Interest Printed Before 1750. Basel, New York: S. Karger, 1970 .  

Dixon, Laurinda S. Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.   ——. “An Occupational Hazard: Saint Jerome, Melancholia, and the Scholarly Life.” In In Detail: New Studies of Northern Renaissance Art in Honor of Walter S. Gibson, 69-82. Edited by Laurinda S. Dixon. Turnhout: Brepols, 1998.   ——. Bosch (London: Phaidon, 2003).

Dodoens, Rembert. A New Herbal, or historie of plantes. London: H. Lyte, 1619.

Edelstein, Ludwig. “Greek Medicine in Its Relation to Religion and Magic.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 5 (March 1937): 201-46.

Farrington, Benjamin. Greek Science: Its Meaning for Us. Baltimore: Penguin,1961.
Ficino, Marsilio. Triplici Vitae (Three Books on Life). Translated and edited by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies in conjunction with the Renaissance Society of America, 1998.

Fix, Andrew. Prophecy and Reason: The Dutch Collegiants in the Early Enlightenment. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.  

Flashar, Hellmut. Melancholie und Melancholiker in den medizinischen Theorien der Antike. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1966.

Füssel, Stephen and Joachim Knape, eds. Poesis et Pictura: Studien zum Verhältnis von Text und Bild in Handschriften und alten Drucken; Festschrift für Dieter Wittke zum 60. Geburtstag. Baden-Baden: Koerner, 1989.  

Gaukroger, Stephen, ed. The Soft Underbelly of Reason: The Passions in the Seventeenth Century. London, New York: Routledge, 1998.  

——. The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.  

Gerard, John, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes. London: Adam Islip, 1633.   Good, Byron, and Arthur Kleinman, eds. Culture and Depression: Studies in the Anthropology and Cross-CulturalPsychiatry of Affect and Disorder. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Gowland, Angus. The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy, Robert Burton in Context. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.  

Grigg, Robert. “Studies on Dürer’s Diary of his Journey to the Netherlands: The Distribution of the Melencolia I.” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 49 (1986): 398-409. doi:10.2307/1482363

Hall, Rupert. The Scientific Revolution, 1500-1800. London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1954.

Hamburger, Jeffrey. “Bosch’s Conjuror: An Attack on Magic and Sacramental Heresy.” Simiolus 14 (1984): 4-23.

Hargreaves-Mawdsley, W. N. History of Academical Dress in Europe Until the End of the Eighteenth Century. Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1964.  

Harrison, Peter. “Reading the Passions: The Fall, the Passions, and Dominion Over Nature.” In The Soft Underbelly of Reason: The Passions in the Seventeenth Century, 49-78.. Edited by Stephen Gaukroger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Heninger, S. K., Jr. The Cosmographical Glass: Renaissance Diagrams of the Universe. San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1977.  

Heyde, Michael. “Robert Burton’s Sources on Enthusiasm and Melancholy: From a Medical Tradition to Religious Controversy.” History of European Ideas 5 (1984): 17-144.   ——. Be Sober and Reasonable: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries. Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1995.  

Hippocrates. The Nature of Man. In Works of Hippocrates, vol. 4. Translated and edited by W. H. S. Jones and E. T. Withington. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1923-31.   Hortus sanitatis. Mainz: Peter Schöffer, 1485.

Jackson, Stanley W. “Acedia the Sin andIts Relationship to Sorrow and Melancholia.” In Culture and Depression: Studies in the Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Psychiatry of Affect and Disorder, 43-62. Edited by Byron Good and Arthur Kleinman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

——. Melancholy and Depression from Hippocratic Times to Modern Times. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.

Jehl, Rainer. Melancholie und Acedia: Ein Beitrag zu Anthropologie und Ethik Bonaventuras. Paderborn: F. Schöningh, 1984.    

Klapper, Joseph. “Aus der Frühzeit des Humanismus: Dichtungen zu Ehren des Heiligen Hieronymus,.” In Bausteine: Festschrift Max Kochzum 70.Geburtstag, 225-28. Breslau: M. and H. Marcus, 1926.  

Klibansky, Raymond, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl. Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the Histories ofNatural Philosophy, Religion, and Art. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 1964.  

Knox, Ronald Arbuthnott. Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion, With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIIICenturies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1950.  

Koch, Robert A. “Flower Symbolism in the Portinari Altar.Art Bulletin 46 (March 1964): 70-77. doi:10.2307/3048141

Kroon, Just Emile. Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van het geneeskundig onderwijs aan deLeidsche Universiteit. Leiden: Van Doesburgh, 1911.    

Kuretsky, Susan Donahue. “Rembrandt’s Tree Stump: An Iconographic Attribute of St. Jerome.” Art Bulletin 56 (1974): 517-80.

Laurens, André du (Laurentius). A discourse on the preservation of the sight: of Melancholike Diseases; of rheumes, and of old age. Translated by Richard Surphlet. 1599. Reprint, London: Oxford University Press, 1938.

Long, Pamela O. “Objects of Art/Objects of Nature: Visual Representation and the Investigation of Nature,” In Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, 63-82. Edited by Pamela H. Smith and Paul Findlen. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Manuth, Volker. “Denomination and Iconography: The Choice of Subject Matter in the Biblical Painting of the Rembrandt Circle.” Simiolus 22 (1993-94): 235-52. doi:10.2307/3780814

Manuth, Volker, et al. Wisdom, Knowledge & Magic: The Image of the Scholar in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art. Exh. cat., Agnes Etherington Art Center, Queen’s University. Kingston, Ontario, 1996.   Minnesota Tree Care Advisors. “Pollarding: What Was Old Is New Again.” http://www.mntca.org/Newsletter/pollarding.htm

More, Henry. Enthusiasmus triumphatu. 1565. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1993.   Nave, F. de, and D. Imhof, eds. Botany in the Low Countries (End of the 15thCentury-ca. 1650). Exh. cat., Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp 1993.  

Palmer, Nigel F., ed., Apokalypse, Ars Morendi, Biblia pauperum, antichrist: Fabel vom Kranken Loewen, Kalendarium und Plantetenbuecher, Historia David; Du Lateinisch-Deutschen Blockbuecher des Berlin-Breslauer Sammelbandes; Staatliche Muzeum zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinette. Munich: H. Lengenfelder, 1992.  

Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955.   Panofsky, Erwin, and Fritz Saxl. Dürers ‘Melencolia I’: Eine quellen- und Typengeschichtliche Untersuchung.  2. Leipzig and Berlin: B. G. Teubner, 1923.  

Parsons, Melinda, and William M. Ramsey. “The Scarlet Letter and an Herbal Tradition” ESQ 29 (1983): 199-207.

Ridderbos, Bernhard. Saint and Symbol: Images of St. Jerome in Early Italian Art. Translated by P. de Waard-Dekking. Gröningen: Bouma’s Bookhuis, 1984.

Scallen, Catherine B. ‘Rembrandt and Saint Jerome.’ PhD diss., Princeton University, 1990.

——. “Rembrandt’s Reformation of a Catholic Subject: The Penitent and the Repentant Saint Jerome.” Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (Spring 1999): 71-88. doi:10.2307/2544900

Schleiner, Winfried. Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia in the Renaissance. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1991.

Schmidt, Jeremy. Melancholy and the Care of the Soul: Religion, Moral Philosophy and Madness in Early Modern England. Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2007.  

Schuster, Peter-Klaus. “Das Bild der Bilder. Zur Wirkungsgeschichte von Dürer’s Melancholiekupferstich.” Idea: Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunsthalle 1 (1982): 73-134.

Smith, Pamela H. and Paula Findlen, eds. Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe. New York: Routledge, 2002.  

Soto, Hernando de. Emblemas moralizadas. 1599. Reprint, Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 1983.

Swan, Claudia. “From Blowfish to Flower Still Life Paintings: Classification and Its Images, circa 1600.” Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, 109-36. Edited by Pamela H. Smith and Paula Findlen. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Thorndike, Lynn, ed. The Herbal of Rufinu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946.   Toledo Museum of Art. European Paintings. University Park, Ohio: 1976.

Velhagen, Rudolph. “Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst vom 15. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert.” In Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst von 15. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, 8-36. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel. 1993.

Voragine, Jacobus da. The Golden Legend. Translated and edited by Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger. London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1983.

Wack, Mary Frances. Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: The Viaticum and Its Commentaries. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.  

Walker, Daniel Pickering. Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975.  

Wenzel, Siegfried. The Sin of Sloth:  Acedia in Medieval Thought and Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967.

Winkel, Marieke de. “Eene der deftigsten dragten:  The Iconography of the Tabbaard and the Sense of Tradition in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Portraiture.”  In Beeld en zelfbeeld in de Nederlandse kunst, 1550-1750/Image and Self-Image in Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750,Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 46 (1995): 144-67.

——. Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006.

List of Illustrations

Aertgen van Leyden,  Saint Jerome, 1520,  Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Fig. 1 Aertgen van Leyden, Saint Jerome, 1520, oil on panel, 48 x 38 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. SK-A-3909, on loan to the Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden, inv. no. SK-A-3903 (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Melencolia I, 1514,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 2 Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, 1514, engraving, 31 x 21 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1943 (43.106.1) (artwork in the public domain)
 The Geocentric Universe, page 4 from Peter Apia,
Fig. 3 The Geocentric Universe, page 4 from Peter Apian, Cosmographicus liber (Antwerp: Gemma Frisius, 1533) (artwork in the public domain)
 The Four Temperaments,  ca. 1450, Zentralbibliothek, Zürich
Fig. 4a The Four Temperaments, ca. 1450, colored woodcuts. Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, Ms. C101, fols. 25v and 26r (artwork in the public domain)
 The Four Temperaments,  ca. 1450, Zentralbibliothek, Zürich
Fig. 4b The Four Temperaments, ca. 1450, colored woodcuts. Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, Ms. C101, fols. 25v and 26r (artwork in the public domain)
 Children of Saturn, from a block-book,  15th century, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin
Fig. 5 Children of Saturn, from a block-book, 15th century. Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (artwork in the public domain)
Hieronymus Bosch,  Saint Jerome at Prayer,  ca. 1480,  Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Fig. 6 Hieronymus Bosch, Saint Jerome at Prayer, ca. 1480, oil on panel, 80.1 x 60 cm. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 7 Albrecht Dürer, Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514, engraving, 24.7 x 18.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.68) (artwork in the public domain)
Albrecht Dürer,  Saint Jerome by the Willow Tree,  ca. 1512,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 8 Albrecht Dürer, Saint Jerome by the Willow Tree, ca. 1512, drypoint, 21 x 17.9 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund 1919 (19.73.67) (artwork in the public domain)
Jan van Eyck (or follower),  Saint Jerome in His Study,  ca. 1441(?),  Detroit Institute of Arts
Fig. 9 Jan van Eyck (or follower), Saint Jerome in His Study, ca. 1441(?), oil on linen paper on oak panel, 20.6 x 13.3 cm. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 25.4 (artwork in the public domain)
Gerrit Dou,  Hermit in Prayer,  ca. 1635,  Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Fig. 10 Gerrit Dou, Hermit in Prayer, ca. 1635, oil on panel, 57 x 43.5 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Gal. Nr. 1711 (artwork in the public domain)
 Great Water Dock, page 389 from John Gerard, T,
Fig. 11 Great Water Dock, page 389 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 12 Rhubarb (Great Water Dock)
Fig. 12 Rhubarb (Great Water Dock)
Pieter Leermans,  Praying Hermit,  ca. 1680,  Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Fig. 13 Pieter Leermans, Praying Hermit, ca. 1680, oil on panel, 41.5 x 33 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Gal. Nr. 1779 (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 14 Thistle
Fig. 14 Thistle
 Our Ladies-Thistle, page 1150 from John Gerard,,
Fig. 15 Our Ladies-Thistle, page 1150 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, l633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 16 Columbine
Fig. 16 Columbine
 Columbine, page 1093 from John Gerard, The Her,
Fig. 17 Columbine, page 1093 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saint Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig. 18 Rembrandt van Rijn, Saint Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648, etching and drypoint, 18.2 x 13.4 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.19.1) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 19 Pollarded willow trees
Fig. 19 Pollarded willow trees
Willem Moreelse,  Portrait of a Scholar, 1647,  Toledo Museum of Art
Fig. 20 Willem Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar, 1647, oil on panel, 82.8 x 67 cm. Toledo Museum of Art, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, acc. no. 62.70 (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 21 Detail, Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar.
Fig. 21 Detail, Moreelse, Portrait of a Scholar.
 Euphorbium, page 615 from Rembert Dodoens, Cruy,
Fig. 22 Euphorbium, page 615 from Rembert Dodoens, Cruydt Boeck (Antwerp, 1644) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 23 Euphorbia
Fig. 23 Euphorbia
 Butter-burre, page 814 from John Gerard, The H,
Fig. 24 Butter-burre, page 814 from John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (Adam Islip: London, 1633) (artwork in the public domain)
Fig. 25 Butterbur
Fig. 25 Butterbur
'Virtus laudata crescit' page 28 from Hernando de,
Fig. 26 ‘Virtus laudata crescit,’ page 28 from Hernando de Soto, Emblemas Moralizadas (Madrid: Juan Iñiquez deLequerica, 1599) (artwork in the public domain)

Footnotes

  1. 1. On Saint Jerome and religious melancholia, see Laurinda S. Dixon, “An Occupational Hazard: Saint Jerome, Melancholia, and the Scholarly Life,” in In Detail: New Studies of Northern Renaissance Art in Honor of Walter S. Gibson, ed. Laurinda S. Dixon (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), 69-82.

  2. 2. For the legend of Saint Jerome, see Jacobus da Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. and ed. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1983), 10. For images of Saint Jerome, see Eugene F. Rice, Jr., Saint Jerome in the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) and Bernhard Ridderbos, Saint and Symbol: Images of St. Jerome in Early Italian Art, trans. P. de Waard-Dekking (Gröningen: Bouma’s Bookhuis, 1984).  

  3. 3. Since the literature devoted to melancholia is vast, the notes here are much abbreviated. For a survey of the development of melancholia from a humoral disorder to a psychological one, see Byron Good and Arthur Kleinman, eds., Culture and Depression: Studies in the Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Psychiatry of Affect and Disorder (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985) and Stanley W. Jackson, Melancholy and Depression from Hippocratic Times to Modern Times (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986). Women, though they suffered identical symptoms, were excluded from the realm of ‘genius,’ which distinguished male melancholics. Instead, their symptoms were attributed to uterine displacement and were labeled ‘hysteric.’ See Laurinda Dixon, Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

  4. 4. For the reception history of Dürer’s Melencolia I, see Peter-Klaus Schuster, ‘Das Bild der Bilder: Zur Wirkungsgeschichte von Dürer’s Melancholiekupferstich,’ Idea: Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunsthalle 1 (1982): 73-134. Despite the title, supplied by Dürer, scholars have interpreted the theme more specifically as a representation of geometry, astronomy, or the quadrivium.

  5. 5. Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1964), prefigured in Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl, Dürers ‘Melencolia I’: Eine quellen- und typengeschichtliche Untersuchung, Studien der Bibliothek Warburg 2 (Leipzig and Berlin: B. G. Teubner, 1923).

  6. 6. See Jean Clair, et al., Mélancolie: Genie et folie en Occident, exh. cat., Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris (2005), for the visual tradition of melancholia from the medieval era through contemporary times.

  7. 7. In general, the term “scientific revolution” defines the move from a faith-based theoretical system of beliefs to an intellectual tradition derived from empirical observation and experimentation, which happened gradually from about 1400 to 1800. See key studies by Stephen Gaukroger, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) and A. Rupert Hall, The Scientific Revolution, 1500-1800 (London, New York: Longmans, Green, 1954).

  8. 8. Although the concept of the bodily humors was familiar by the time of Hippocrates in the fifth century bce, the formal explanation of humoral theory is generally credited to him. See Hippocrates, The Nature of Man, in Works of Hippocrates, trans. and ed. W. H. S. Jones and E. T. Withington (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1923-31), vol. 4. For a modern discussion of humoral principles, see Benjamin Farrington, Greek Science: Its Meaning for Us (Baltimore: Penguin, 1961).

  9. 9. Another system of healing, the doctrine of signatures, matched like cures to like illness; for example, imbibing distillations of venom to cure snakebites.

  10. 10. For explanations and illustrations of the elemental, humoral, and astrological systems, see S. K. Heninger, Jr., The Cosmographical Glass: Renaissance Diagrams of the Universe (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1977).

  11. 11. See Nigel F. Palmer, ed., Apokalypse, Ars Morendi, Biblia pauperum, antichrist: Fabel vom Kranken Loewen, Kalendarium und Plantetenbuecher, Historia David; Du Lateinisch-Deutschen Blockbuecher des Berlin-Breslauer Sammelbandes; Staatliche Muzeum zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinette (Munich: H. Lengenfelder, 1992).

  12. 12. Hippocrates, The Nature of Man, 3-41. See also Ludwig Edelstein, ‘Greek Medicine, Its Relation to Religion and Magic,’ Bulletin of the History of Medicine 5 (March 1937): 201-46.

  13. 13. For Plato’s concept of divine inspiration, see Hellmut Flashar, Melancholie und Melancholiker in den medizinischen Theorien der Antike (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1966), 60-62.

  14. 14. Aristotle, ‘Problem 30,’ quoted in its entirety in Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy, 18-29.

  15. 15. On the mingled concepts of genius, geniality, and ingenio, see Winfried Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia in the Renaissance (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1991), 19-51.

  16. 16. Marsilio Ficino, De Vita (Three Books on Life), trans. and ed. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Tempe, Az.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies in conjunction with the Renaissance Society of America, 1989).

  17. 17. Ficino’s innovations were expanded and championed by Henry Cornelius Agrippa (De Occulta Philosophia, 1533), Giovanni della Porta (De humana physiognomonia, 1586), and many others. See Jackson, Melancholia and Depression, 78-103; and Daniel Pickering Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975).

  18. 18. For the transmission of ancient theories of melancholia to the Christian West via the importation of the Arabic treatises, see Mary Frances Wack, Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: The Viaticum and Its Commentaries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990).

  19. 19. The merging of these three aspects of medieval thought was a complex phenomenon, wrought by the deft interweaving of Greek philosophy, Catholic liturgy, and Arabic science characteristic of scholasticism. See Stanley W. Jackson, ‘Acedia the Sin and Its Relationship to Sorrow and Melancholia,’ in Good and Kleinman, eds., Culture and Depression, 43-62; and Rainer Jehl, Melancholie und Acedia: Ein Beitrag zu Anthropologie und Ethik Bonaventuras (Paderborn: F. Schöningh, 1984).

  20. 20. Constantino L’Africano, L’Arte Universale della Medicina, trans. M. T. Malato and Umberto de Martini (Rome: Roma, 1961), 49.

  21. 21. See Peter Harrison, “Reading the Passions: The Fall, the Passions, and Dominion Over Nature,” in The Soft Underbelly of Reason: The Passions in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Stephen Gaukroger (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 49-78.

  22. 22. For discussion of divine melancholia, see Michael Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries (Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1995) and Jackson, Melancholy and Depression, 330-41.  

  23. 23. André du Laurens (Laurentius), A discourse on the preservation of the sight: of Melancholike diseases; of rheumes, and of old age, trans. Richard Surphlet (1599; repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1938), 85-86.

  24. 24. On the vice of acedia in the context of religious melancholy, see Heyd, Be Sober and Reasonable, 45-49; and Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and Liberature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967).

  25. 25. For the dissemination of Saint Jerome’s legend and attributes, see Peter G. Bietenholz, “Erasmus von Rotterdam und der Kult des heiligen Hieronymus,” in Poesis et Pictura: Studien zum Verhältnis von Text und Bild in Handschriften und alten Drucken; Festschrift für Dieter Wittke zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Stephen Füssel and Joachim Knape (Baden-Baden, 1989), 191-220; and Joseph Klapper, “Aus der Frühzeit des Humanismus: Dichtungen zu Ehren des Heiligen Hieronymus,” Bausteine: Festschrift Max Kochzum 70.Geburtstag (Breslau: M. and H. Marcus, 1926), 225-28.

  26. 26. For discussion of Bosch’s various treatments of the Saint Jerome theme, see Laurinda Dixon, Bosch (London: Phaidon, 2003), 164-72.

  27. 27. Dürer’s Saint Jerome in His Study is one of the three “great engravings,” including Melencolia I and Knight, Death and the Devil, produced between 1513 and 1514.

  28. 28. Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, 1955), 359.

  29. 29. According to Robert Grigg, “Studies on Dürer’s Diary of his Journey to the Netherlands: The Distribution of the Melencolia I,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 49 (1986): 398-409.

  30. 30. For these saturnine iconographic associations, see Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy, 133-58.

  31. 31. The visual association of Saint Jerome with earth and rock also occurs in several Italian versions of the theme. Well known are paintings by Giovanni Bellini (Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Kress Collection) and Bartolomeo di Giovanni (Florence, Galleria dell’ Accademia).

  32. 32. The attribution of this painting to Van Eyck is questioned. Once attributed to Petrus Christus, it is has been suggested that the work is an early copy of a lost original by Jan van Eyck.

  33. 33. See Ingvar Bergström, “Medicina, Fons et Scrinium: A Study in Van Eyckean Symbolism and Its Influences in Italian Art,” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957): 1-20.

  34. 34. See Ronni Baer, “Image of Devotion: Dou’s ‘Hermit Praying,'” Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 67 (1995): 22-23; Volker Manuth, “Denomination and Iconography: The Choice of Subject Matter in the Biblical Painting of the Rembrandt Circle,” Simiolus 22 (1993-94): 235-52; and Catherine B. Scallen, “Rembrandt’s Reformation of a Catholic Subject: The Penitent and the Repentant Saint Jerome,” Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (Spring 1999): 71-88.

  35. 35. For the debate on enthusiasm, see Andrew Fix, Prophecy and Reason: The Dutch Collegiants in the Early Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

  36. 36. Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is, All the Kinds, Causes, Symptoms, Prognostics, and Several Cures of it (1621; repr. New York: W. J. Widdleton, 1865), 3:389. An authoritative compendium of knowledge about melancholy since ancient times, Burton’s book embodied the early modern fascination with the disease and spanned the popular and scholarly reading public. See Angus Gowland, The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy, Robert Burton in Context (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) on the many contexts of Burton’s encyclopedic treatise. On Burton’s attitude toward religious melancholy, see Michael Heyde, ‘Robert Burton’s Sources on Enthusiasm and Melancholy: From a Medical Tradition to Religious Controversy,’ History of European Ideas 5 (1984): 17-144.

  37. 37. For the seventeenth-century distrust of enthusiasm, see Fix, Prophecy and Reason; Heyde, Be Sober and Reasonable; Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion, With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950); and Jeremy Schmidt, Melancholy and the Care of the Soul: Religion, Moral Philosophy and Madness in Early Modern England (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2007).

  38. 38. Meric Casaubon, A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasme: as it is an effect of nature: but is mistaken by many for either divine inspiration or diabolical possession (1656; repr., Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1970).

  39. 39. Henry More, Enthusiasmus triumphatus (1565; repr., New York: AMS Press, 1993).

  40. 40. See Ronni Baer, Gerrit Dou 1613-1675: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2000), 13033; and Catherine B. Scallen, ‘Rembrandt and Saint Jerome,’ PhD diss. (Princeton, 1990), for interpretations of these objects as vanitas symbols indicating the hermit’s triumph over death through Christian prayer and scriptural study.

  41. 41. See Volker Manuth et al., Wisdom, Knowledge and Magic: The Image of the Scholar in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art, exh. cat., Agnes Etherington Art Center, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (1996), 64-75; and Rudolph Velhagen, “Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst vom 15. bis zum 20 Jahrhundert,” in Eremiten und Eremitagen in der Kunst von 15. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel (1993), 8-26. 

  42. 42. Ronni Baer, “The Paintings of Gerrit Dou (1613-1675),” PhD diss., New York University, 1990, identifies at least ten such depictions by Dou known to exist in modern collections.

  43. 43. For early modern art and botany, see F. de Nave and D. Imhof, eds., Botany in the Low Countries (End of the 15th Century-ca. 1650), exh. cat., Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp (1993); Pamela O. Long, “Objects of Art/Objects of Nature: Visual Representation and the Investigation of Nature,” and Claudia Swan, “From Blowfish to Flower Still Life Paintings: Classification and Its Images, circa 1600,” both in Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe, ed. Pamela H. Smith and Paula Findlen (New York: Routledge, 2002), 63-82 and 109-36.

  44. 44. For a succinct and cogent history of the development of herbals, see Frank J. Anderson, An Illustrated History of Herbals (New York, 1977).

  45. 45. Ficino, Vita, 291.

  46. 46. John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (London: Adam Islip, 1633), 387-92. Gerard’s massive 1633 edition was based largely on a pre existent translation of Dodoens’s Latin herbal of 1583.

  47. 47. Melinda Parsons and William M. Ramsey, “The Scarlet Letter and an Herbal Tradition,” ESQ 29 (1983): 199-207, identify the plant as burdock, which has smaller leaves than water dock, and maintain that it signifies lust.  

  48. 48. Gerard, Herball, 1149. See also Hortus sanitatis (Mainz, 1410), chap. 65; and discussion by Frank Anderson, The Illustrated Bartsch: Herbals through 1500, Commentary to Vol. 9 (New York, 1984).

  49. 49. For discussion of toads as embodiments of evil in the Christian tradition, see Jeffrey Hamburger, “Bosch’s Conjuror: An Attack on Magic and Sacramental Heresy,” Simiolus 14 (1984): 4-23.

  50. 50. Gerard, Herball, 1150-391.

  51. 51. For the Marian symbolism of the columbine, see Robert A. Koch, “Flower Symbolism in the Portinari Altar,” Art Bulletin 46 (March 1964): 70-77.

  52. 52. Gerard, Herball, 1092-94.

  53. 53. For Rembrandt’s treatments of Saint Jerome, see Scallen, “Rembrandt and Saint Jerome,” and Scallen, “Rembrandt’s Reformation of a Catholic Subject.”

  54. 54. For Rembrandt prints, see Clifford S. Ackley, Ronni Baer, and Thomas E. Rassieur, Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004).

  55. 55. H. Perry Chapman, Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity (Princeton, 1990), 26-33, cites the intellectual environment at Leiden as a source for Rembrandt’s interest in melancholia.

  56. 56. See Oskar Diethelm, Medical Dissertations of Psychiatric Interest Printed Before 1750 (Basel and New York: S. Karger, 1970); and Just Emile Kroon, Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van het geneeskundig onderwijs aan de Leidsche Universiteit (Leiden: Van Doesburgh, 1911).

  57. 57. Susan Donahue Kuretsky, “Rembrandt’s Tree Stump: An Iconographic Attribute of St. Jerome,” Art Bulletin 56 (1974): 517-80.

  58. 58. See Anderson, Illustrated Bartsch, “solis alba – white willow,” on the analgesic properties of the willow tree.

  59. 59. On the modern practice of pollarding, see Minnesota Tree Care Advisors, “Pollarding: What Was Old Is New Again,” See http://www.mntca.org/Newsletter/pollarding.htm.

  60. 60. See W. N. Hargreaves-Mawdsley, History of Academical Dress in Europe Until the End of the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1964), 176; Marieke de Winkel, “Eene der deftigsten dragten: The Iconography of the Tabbaard and the Sense of Tradition in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Portraiture,” in Beeld en zelfbeeld in de Nederlandse kunst, 1550-1750 / Image and Self-Image in Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 46 (1995): 144-67; and Marieke de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006), 27-50.

  61. 61. See Toledo Museum of Art, European Paintings (University Park, 1976), no. 128.

  62. 62. In 1652, the famous herbalist Nicholas Culpeper would use this same quotation in the preface of The English Physitian: an astrologo-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation (London: William Bentley, 1652).

  63. 63. Toledo Museum of Art, European Paintings, 114-15.

  64. 64. Rembert Dodoens, A New Herbal, or historie of plantes (London: H. Lyte, 1619), 222-23; Gerard, Herball, 1178.

  65. 65. Ficino, Vita, 1:159; 3:249.

  66. 66. Gerard, Herball, 1180.

  67. 67. “Purgat flegma, secundario melancoliam”: The Herbal of Rufinus, ed. Lynn Thorndike (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946), 129.

  68. 68. Gerard, Herball, 813-14.

  69. 69. Dodoens, New Herbal, 17.

  70. 70. Ficino, Vita, 3:113.

  71. 71. “Bien la virtud alabada, Se prueua en el quanto crece, Y lo much que florece, Tan dignamene premiada”: Hernando de Soto, Emblemas moralizadas (1599; repr., Madrid: Fundación universitaria Española, 1983).

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2009.1.2.1
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Laurinda S. Dixon, "Privileged Piety: Melancholia and the Herbal Tradition," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 1:2 (Summer 2009) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2009.1.2.1