The most melancholic paintings in the history of art


“Ofelia – Ophelia, John Everett Millais (1852) Tate Britain, London” by Antonio Marín Segovia is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Melancholy is considered one of the emotions that have most been captured in Western art, as it represents sadness, nostalgia and human unhappiness.

In this post we are going to see some of the most melancholic works of all time.

The death of Ophelia (1851-1852)

This painting, painted by John Everett Millais, depicts the tragic end of Ophelia, the lady from Shakespeare’s famous novel Hamlet, tragically drowned in a stream, ending her suffering.

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1798)


«Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Fuendetodos, 1746 – Bordeaux, 1828) Portrait of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1798)» by Li Taipo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Painted by the great Spanish artist Francisco de Goya, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, is probably the most melancholic man ever portrayed. Some of the features that define it are the lost look and the head resting sadly on the hand.

The Wayfarer Above the Sea of ​​Clouds (1818)

The psychology of artists is often reflected in the landscapes they paint. A clear example of this is the work The walker above the sea of ​​clouds, painted by Caspar David Friedrich. In this painting we can see a melancholic man dressed in black observing the rough sea, in a sad atmosphere of gray and blue tones.

Mystery and melancholy of a street (1914)

Painted by Chirico, in this work we can see an empty and silent street, in which only a lonely girl with a hoop can be seen. It reflects a deep loneliness.

Wheat Field with Crows (1890)

Another melancholic genius was the tormented Van Gogh. You can learn more about his interesting life in this previous post. This interesting painting showing crows flying over a wheat field with a cloudy sky was painted in the last days of Van Gogh’s life. A work with a large dose of melancholy, reflected in the landscape.

And you, do you know other works that reflect melancholy?

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