Since antiquity, the term ‘melancholia’ has given its name to a condition with a wide range of meanings: social, religious and medical.
The seventeenth century bestseller ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ by Robert Burton assigned a range of causes to melancholia, and cautiously advanced possible remedies for the condition. The six causes he proposed were: Sickness, Solitude, Jealousy, Disappointment in Love, Insanity and Religious Melancholy. The book resonates within contemporary discussions about the impact that heredity and environment may have on mental health, and has inspired and influenced a canon of artists, writers and musicians. The exhibition is an exploration of how the proposed causes and cures are represented within the art collection of Bethlem Museum of the Mind, through the work of 15 artists spanning 200 years.
The Anatomy of Melancholy is on at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, BR3 3BX. From January 16th – April 27th. Times: Wed – Fri 10am – 5pm; first and last Saturday every month. Admission: Free. Phone: Tel: 0203 228 4277
Image: George Harding – Everything Is Real