Arnold Bocklin (October 16, 1827 – January 16, 1901), the modern artist and painter from Switzerland, gained great popularity during the period of his creative work. His coevals used in their works different forms of abstraction and stylistic elements based on classicism and history of the subject matter of the past. Arnold Bocklin, on the contrary, became utterly absorbed in the history of Renaissance pictorial art, full of mythological figures, which made him more eccentric and conspicuous.
All his efforts to create great pictures resulted in a combination of painting traditions along with eclecticism, which is called kitsch. His works were taken as a standard by a great variety of modern artists, especially by those, who wished to represent natural and fantasy world in their paintings.
Key ideas in painting
Arnold Bocklin belonged to the most prominent representatives of symbolism. Although other painters make use of gloomy intensity in their works, Arnold made over imagery of mythological classicism with abrupt feelings. Besides, he added some strange combination of the comical and the dreadful, making his works extremely popular with surrealists, for example, S. Dali.
Several things had an impact on Arnold Böcklin’s works. The modern artist, even though he didn’t like to be called as one, searched for inspiration in many Northern-European artists. The Romantic landscape pictures, playing with French realism, getting acquainted with the traditions of Renaissance and peculiarities of Baroque along with the mixture of fanciful ironic elements left an imprint on his creativity and broke new ground for Postmodernism culture of art.
Arnold Bocklin appeared to be one of the most prosperous modern artists of that time when it came to excellent public taste. Bocklin used the opportunity of printing and reprinting of artworks in Germany. Many of his works were found on the walls of living rooms of middle-class society. That is why, Arnold is thought to be one, whose art found its appreciation all around the mass market.
Arts made by Arnold Böcklin
The following art belongs to the greatest achievements of the painter. They brought him true success and recognition among the audience.
Self-Portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle.
It’s the representation of the artist, who is engaged in painting and looks somehow confused as if he hears the skeleton playing the fiddle behind his left shoulder. The clothes and the very postural pose of the painter suggest the combination of Romanticism and Gothic style. The image of the skeleton was borrowed from the traditions of danse macabre from the Middle Ages.
Battle of Centaurs.
Collaborating with his friend, Franz von Lenbach, at that time, Arnold finished the painting in 1873. This work is synonymous with the Michelangelo’s one, but it possesses a few variations of styles of art. The public in Germany was quite fascinated by the work, and it was exhibited in every gallery as a masterpiece.
Isle of Dead.
The Isle of Dead is another piece of art created by Arnold Bocklin. Painted in a Romantic style, which has some symbolic peculiarities, it represents the rower and a lady in white, charging toward the aisle. From the first sight, one may notice the similarity between the boat and the eternity box. The Island of Dead symbolizes a graveyard where one of the painter’s children was buried.