The triumph of melancholy: 500 years of Dürer's most enigmatic print

Anyone who spends time around real mathematicians rather than their Hollywood counterparts will be familiar with a propensity for witty, often wildly comedic banter that defies the stereotype of the humourless logician. It may come as some surprise, therefore, to learn that a group of mathematics enthusiasts are gathering in New York City this weekend to celebrate 500 years of darkness and gloom in their discipline.

The occasion for this saturnalia of sadness is the 500th anniversary of Albrecht Dürer's famous Melencolia engraving, with its bafflingly complex array of mathematical and other devices surrounding a large winged figure holding a book and compass.

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