Pieter Bruegel [the Elder], Desidia​ 1558.  Wkimiedia Commons: "The Seven Vices, also the Seven deadly sins: Greed (Avaritia), Acedia or depression without joy (Disidia), Gluttony (Gula), Envy (Invidia), Wrath (Ira), Pride (Superbia) and Extravagance or Lechery (Luxuria). By Pieter Bruegel [the Elder], published by Hieronymus Cock. The series is completed by a final depiction of the doom."  Source: Kupferstich, 22,5 × 29,5 cm, Herrausgeber: Hieronymus Cock. Bibliothèque Royale, Cabinet Estampes, Brüssel. Online: zeno.org(Volltextsuche).

Pietro Antonio Rotari, Young Girl with Distaff​, first half of 18th century, Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest), Wikimedia Commons

"Wall, I wonder that you haven't fallen down in ruin, when you have to support all the boredom of your inscribers."


The Latin graffito comes from Pompeii and transliterates as follows: "admiror te paries non cecidisse / qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas" .  It can be found in CIL iv 2487 (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum) plus 1904 and 2461 (Inscriptiones parietariae Pompeianae Herculanenses Stabianae. Edid. C. ZANGEMEISTER, R. SCHOENE. 1871 (impr. iter. 1957) ISBN 3-11-003188-4 available online as pdf at Arachne).

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), L'homme au balcon, boulevard Haussmann (1880), Wikimedia Commons.  Source history: Maître Albert Courtier (gift from the artist, circa 1880). Jean Metthey, Paris. Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 10 October 1946. Georges Couturat, Paris (acquired at the above sale).Auctioned 8 May 2000 at Christie's New York, Rockefeller Plaza. Signature and date bottom left:  G. Caillebotte 1880.  Source/photographer: Christie's.  

Britney SpearsBaby One More Time (2009), 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4


This video version of Britney Spear's Baby One More uses the images for boredom perfectly.  Britney is a school girl stuck in class, watching the clock, waiting for the lesson to end. Head on the left hand, eyes looking at something (the clock in the classroom that’s keeping her stuck in "temporarily unavoidable and predictable circumstances”), right hand twiddling the pencil, and a look of mild disgust/irritation at being trapped.  (Depression would be head on the right hand, eyes down, and no singing afterwards!)  The boredom ends when she leaves the classroom and begins to sing and to dance.  Compare Pietro Antonio Rotari's waiting of a young bored girl below.  (Thanks to Diane Peters for pointing this one out to me.)

Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1532, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.  Wikimedia Commons.  Illustration 20 in Peter Toohey, Boredom, 2011. Compare Magritte and Tsaroychis below.

Ron Mueck, Angel,  1997.   http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/31576-ron-mueck

Edgar Degas, M. And Mme Edouard Manet, 1868-1869.   Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Japan.  Wikiart.org

 Illustration by Rea Irvin for the short story "Why He Married Her: The Romance of a Master Mind" by Ellis Parker Butler, published in The Green Book magazine, volume 15, in 1916.  It's the man that's the boring one here.

Pierre Bonnard, Woman in an Interior (1906), Courtauld Art Gallery, London England. Wikimedia Commons.

Carl Spitzweg, The Cactus Lover (Der Kaktusliebhaber) , c.1850, Museum Georg Schäfer. Wikimedia Commons. Illustration 6 in Peter Toohey, Boredom 2011. See Peter Toohey, Slate Magazine

The Bore Track, Strzelecki Desert, South Australia, 2007.  Photograph by K.-D. Liss (Wikipedia).  Illustration 2 in Peter Toohey, BoredomA Lively History​, 2011.

Wikipedia: "The Bore Track is a 4WD track in South Australia roughly following the Queensland border from Cameron Corner to Innamincka. It is a narrow, rarely used, scenic alternative to the Strzelecki Track, passing through sand dunes and clay pans of the Strzelecki Desert. It is a good preparation for the longer traverse of the Simpson desert. There are gas fields, pipelines and bores for which the track is the historic access and after which it is named."

Walter Sickert, Ennui, c. 1913, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK.  WikiArt.org. Illustration 7 in Peter Toohey, Boredom (2011).​

Yiannis Tsaroychis, First idea for the Spirit of boredom, above Piraeus, 1968.  WikiArt.org.  Compare Magritte's Homesickness​ above. 

Edgar Degas, The Laudresses​, 1884, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.  WikiArt.org.  Illustration 10 in Peter Toohey, Boredom, 2011.


*          *          *

​The visual material of these few pages applies the "fair use" rationale adopted by WikiArt.org.  Each art work comforms to the following:

it is a historically significant artwork
the image is only being used for informational and educational purposes
the image is readily available on the internet
the image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use.

Copyright terms are based on authors' deaths according to U.S. Copyright Law, that is 70 years.

Gaston La Touche, L'ennui, 1893. Wikimedia Commons. Compare Matisse below.

Boredom in Images

Boredom can be understood as “an emotion of mild disgust produced by temporarily unavoidable and predictable circumstances”.  The images to follow aim to illustrate this definition.  They are arranged chronologically (from most recent to oldest).  Some of the pictures from Peter Toohey, Boredom (2011) can be found here and are numbered to follow that book (Illustration 1 etc.). This page is searchable (Command/Control+F). An underscored word or phrase indicates a link to a prose commentary.

Ms Sarah Kelly, Graffiti in Shoreditch, London - Bored by Irony (Chance Street), 2013. Wikimedia Commons

Giovanni Bellini, The Agony in the Garden​, c.1459, National Gallery, London, UK.  WikiArt.org.  Compare Illustration 3 in Peter Toohey, Boredom (2011) and Lo Spagna, The Agony in the Garden ​(1500-1505)

Jan van Eyck, St. Jerome in his Study, 1432, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, USA. WikiArt.org.  Illustration 24 in Peter Toohey, Boredom, 2011.See Peter Toohey, Slate Magazine

Bored and tired Kate-as-Angel at Mardi Gras 2008, New Orleans, Louisiana.  5 February 2008, 13:49:23. originally posted to Flickr as Bored Angel. Bridget Coila.  Wikimedia Commons.  See Tsaroychis and Mueck below.)

Emmelie de Forest at a press conference four days before the Eurovision Song Contest 2013.  This photo was taken during the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö by Albin Olsson with a Nikon D600 from the technology pool of Wikimedia Sverige.  Photo: Albin Olsson.  License: CC-BY-SA-3.0.  Wikimedia Commons.  See Peter Toohey, Psychology Today, August 6, 2015.

Edward Le Bas (1904-1966) Saloon Bar 1940. Melancholy or bored?  Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1940 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05334 .  It looks like her two companions (see the two waiting drinks) have gone to play darts leaving the woman alone.  That's when the man to her rear starts flirting.  She seems bored to be left alone and bored by the man's advances.  I'd go for boredom here.

Albert Guillaume, 5 minutes d'entr'acte, scan of a postcard, Series: Guerre Européenne de 1914–1915. Édition patriotique, Lapina, Paris; handwritten, dated 29 Dec 1915.  Wikimedia Commons.

Peter Toohey

Artist Unknown, Portrait of Ekaterina Demidova (1783-1830), c.1825, Alexander Pushkin's Museum (Prechistenka).   Wikimedia Commons.  Boredom or melancholy?  The violin suggests melancholy, but she looks bored to me.  See Peter Toohey, Psychology Today, August 6, 2015.

The British Character. A disinclination to sparkle (Graham Laidler). Cartoon in Punch 8 December 1937.

Henri Matisse, The Inattentive Reader , 1919. ​WikiArt.org.  See Peter Toohey, Psychology Today, August 6, 2015

John Everett Millais, Marianna at the Moated Grange, 1851, Makins Collection. WikiArt.org. Illustration  in Peter Toohey, Boredom, 2011.  See Peter Toohey, Slate Magazine

Pierre Bonnard, Striped Blouse​, 1922.  Private Collection.  Wikiart.org.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La tasse de chocolat​, c. 1912.  Barnes Foundation.  Wikimedia Commons

Rene Magritee, Homesickness, c.1940, Galerie Branchot, Brussels.  WikiArt.org.  Illustration 23 in Peter Toohey, Boredom (2011).  The lion seems to come from the tradition associated with van Eyck.  You can see that illustration above.  Bored angels are everywhere - see Kate above.

Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea, 1951.  Private Collection.  WikiArt.org.  Illustration 21 in Peter Toohey Boredom (2011).

Photo by Adam Jones adamjones.freeservers.com (Please inform author of use).   A woman sells souvenirs outside Red Square, Moscow, Russia. June 2008.  Wikimedia Commons.  See Peter Toohey, Psychology Today, August 6, 2015.

Francois Barraud, Tailor's Soup, 1933.


In the picture are Barraud's wife, Marie, and her younger sister, Louise.

http://bp0.blogger.com/_rlbkVRdQg0w/SGpMZ6Ttb0I/AAAAAAAAAvc/Um5DwgOiCwk/s1600-h/tailleusesdesoupe1933.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10107011

Ascribed to Carlo Portelli, The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari (before 1510-1574), Wikimedia Commons. See Peter Toohey, Psychology Today

Boredom in a Roman inscription from the Italian city of Benevento.  It's said to date from between 280 and 350 CE.  We'll never know what remarkable act the dedicatee, Tanonius Marcellinus, performed. This is what the inscription says:


"For Tanonius Marcellinus, a most distinguished man of the consular rank in Campania and a most worthy patron as well, because of the good deeds by which he rescued the population [of Beneventum] from endless boredom, the entire city judges this inscription should be recorded."

CIL ix, 1588 (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; Dessau, H., Inscriptiones latinae selectae, Berlin 3rd ed. 1962 IX, 1588 5480)