Melencolia flourish I



In my previous article There’s No Melancholy in Melencolia – One Secret of Greatest Art Fraud in Art History  I reported to you that there is nothing allegorical about anything that is in Albrecht Durer’s most famous print or any of his art at all.  And that Albrecht Durer was using steganography, known in this case as the Durer Cipher, a secret messaging system where others do not even know messages are being passed to a target audience.


an example of steganography, hidden information in plain sight


Today you are going to see what all researchers have missed for over 500 years, the Durer Cipher encoded belt of Melencolia, which proves that the most famous print in history is not allegorical at all.


Melencolia Belt Code
Melencolia Belt Code

But the most significant discovery is that Durer encoded the belt on the winged figure, an enlargement you see here, and the message this belt code gives us is amazing, for it tells us that the winged woman and the female putto sitting on the millstone are two specific Durer family members and they are dead.  This hidden belt code supports the premise that cartouche IS an inscription.

One of the consistencies of how the Durer Cipher operates is that Durer puts a major clue in the middle of the composition.  In Melencolia, the clue is the millstone in the middle upon which the putto sits.


The millstone in the middle of the composition

What we see in this encoded belt is the following, from right to left, as Hebrew is written:


  1. Eight more millstone symbols, the circles with the dark hole in the middle
  2. Eight double sets of what I call “uprights”
Millstones and Uprights
Millstones and Uprights
  1. Two circular objects that are not millstones because they do not have the dark circle in the middle, yet to be deciphered
  2. What looks like the letters “T” and a backward “C,” yet to be deciphered
  3. A heraldic diamond symbol that is called a lozenge, with two equal symbols beside it in the middle of the belt code
  4. The Greek word “obaros” spelled right to left, a word that means “dead.”
  5. A partial symbol hidden under the strap holding the keys, which may never be decoded

Let’s start with the easiest symbol to decode, the heraldric diamond lozenge.  The lozenge was an heraldic symbol used to identify a widowed woman or an unmarried daughter. When the lozenge was used, part of the husband’s or father’s arms was “impaled” on the side of the lozenge to identify the woman.  Here, we have a lozenge with the same part of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s arms, the doorsill, impaled on both sides of the lozenge, thus we know that this lozenge is used to identify the two Durer women in the composition, the winged figure and the female putto, who are identified as Barbara and Margret Durer by other symbols in the composition.

Melencolia Belt Code
Melencolia Belt Code


Let’s get to the millstones.  In 1999 a completely intact Jewish cemetery in Prague dating to 1478 was discovered during renovations of an insurance building. In one third of the Jewish graves upright slate slabs and millstones were used to encase the individual grave shafts. The significance of this medieval Jewish ritual has yet to be determined by archaeologists, but apparently Durer was knowledgeable about this practice, since he specifically included not only the huge millstone in the center of the composition, he included 8 millstones and 8 sets of uprights in the belt code.  It is my hypothesis that each millstone in the belt code represents a dead female Durer sibling or relative and the uprights represent a dead male Durer sibling or relative.


And then we have the Greek word “obaros” in the belt code, which means “dead.”  Why does Durer have to specifically tell us that someone is dead? So that he clearly indicates that this composition is not allegorical or figurative, as the inscription in the cartouche might suggest. As a Jew, Durer had a religious obligation to provide a “proper” Jewish burial for his dead family members, something he could not do in reality as a crypto-Jew.  So he provides a Jewish burial symbolically with this masterpiece.


Melencolia flourish I








Share the postShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Facebook


Comments are closed.