Arnold Boecklin Biography and Artwork

Arnold Böcklin was a 19th-century Swiss symbolist painter born in Basel on October 16, 1827. He attended the Dusseldorf Academy from 1845-1847 where he painted scenes of the Swiss Alps. Böcklin was known for his moody landscapes and sinister allegories that greatly influenced late 19th-century German artists and presaged the symbolism of the 20th-century Metaphysical and Surrealist artists.

Unlike naturalistic trends of his time, Böcklin created symbolic and mythological works based on his own imagination. One of his best-known artworks is ‘Isle of the Dead,’ which exists in five different versions (1880-1886). This painting depicts a boat going towards an island shrouded in mist with several crypts in line on its shores.

Böcklin’s father was engaged in silk trading, and as a result, he grew up to have an artistic temperament combined with an interest in textiles. His paintings were highly sought after by collectors during his lifetime while inspiring other artists to follow his example later. He died at age seventy-three on January 16, 1901, many years before surrealism’s emergence, but much of Böcklin’s work still speaks to art lovers today who are seeking new levels of expression beyond traditional realism or Impressionism.

All Arnold Boecklin Artwork on Artchive

Artwork Name Year Medium
The Plague 1898 Tempera On Wood
The Isle of the Dead 1880 Oil on Canvas
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