Symbolism

Arnold Böcklin

Self-portrait,1872

Arnold Böcklin (16 October 1827 – 16 January 1901) was born in Basel, Switzerland, and trained in Dusseldorf. He came late to Symbolism: all his early work was very much in the spirit of German Romantic painting: heavily atmospheric landscapes, lowering thunderstorms and lonely mountains.

By the time he painted his most famous work, The Isle of the Dead, he had grown beyond his youthful romanticism and was treating mythological subjects and landscapes in an entirely personal way.Originally called “A Quiet Place”, this is Bocklin’s most famous work: three versions of it can be seen in public collections. It was painted on commission for a young widow who wanted “an image to dream about.”

The Isle of the Dead, 1880 (the 3rd version, from 1883, can be seen in the post header).