This is the french edition catalogue about the exhibition Melancholy Genius and insanity in the West.
No mental state has so occupied the Western mind as melancholy; going to the heart of the problems that preoccupy us today from history to philosophy, from medicine to psychiatry, from religion to theology, from literature to art.
Melancholy, traditionally the cause of suffering and folly has also, since antiquity, been considered one of the elements in the temperaments of those marked for greatness, in our heroes and geniuses. Its description as a sacred illness implies a certain duality and melancholy is still mysterious even though today, with its new name of depression, there is a medico-scientific approach to it.
The iconography of melancholy is extraordinarily rich and it is therefore not surprising that it is history of art that has been in the forefront of the establishment of a new approach to the cultural history of this saturnine malaise.
From Attic stele to contemporary works, from Dürer to Ron Mueck via La Tour, Füssli, Goya, Friedrich, Delacroix, Rodin, Van Gogh, Munch, De Chirico, Picasso and others this exhibition emphasises the vital role played by melancholy on the different forms of artistic creation throughout Europe.