Island of the Dead

Arnold Böcklin Swiss

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800

Böcklin’s patron Marie Berna commissioned this painting in 1880 as a memorial to her late husband. It is based on an unfinished canvas that she saw in the artist’s studio in Florence; at her request, he added the draped coffin and the shrouded figure to the rowboat in the foreground. Böcklin later wrote to her, "you will be able to dream yourself into the world of dark shadows." Between 1883 and 1886, he painted three additional versions of the subject, each slightly different. The scene was widely reproduced and inspired numerous artists, including the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.

#6272. Isle of the Dead

Island of the Dead, Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy), Oil on wood

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