The Most Melancholic of all Beasts

In a book simply titled Hare, the author, Simon Carnell, mentions the seemingly melancholic nature of these wild animals. He writes, “Certain pre-modern naturalists give a version of the idea that the hare is ‘one of the most melancholicke beasts that is’, and it is occasionally added that it can temporarily cure itself of this melancholy by seeking out and eating wild succory, or by just sitting under it. Robert Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, says that eating hare flesh will not only cause ‘fearful dreams’ but ‘breed incubus…”

An earlier version of this painting included a bit of  “wild succory.” And caterpillars. It was never finished.