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Artists Arnold Böcklin

Arnold Böcklin

Swiss Painter and Printmaker

Arnold Böcklin Photo
Movements and Styles: Romanticism, Symbolism

Born: October 16, 1827 - Basel, Switzerland

Died: January 16, 1901 - Fiesole, Italy

"To be Greeks! Us? Why were the Greeks Greeks? Because they created what they saw, as seemed right to them. (The ancients did not want to make antiquity, as far as I know - only we want to do that) ... The fresh water of life is what we want, and that is ever flowing for us, as it was for the Greeks. We will only be Greek when we grasp it in our own way."

Arnold Böcklin Signature


Arnold Böcklin is unusual amongst modern artists in that he was never comfortable with being described as one. While other painters of his era experimented with ever more pronounced forms of abstraction and stylistic experiment, turning their back on the classical and historical subject-matter of the past, Böcklin immersed himself in the history of painting from the Renaissance onwards, drawn to mythological imagery, and to all that was dramatic and extravagant. The resultant body of work combines a whole range of painterly traditions with a stylistic and thematic eclecticism which we might call kitsch. His paintings certainly had the mass popular appeal sometimes associated with that term. But they also became a touchstone for many modern artists, particularly those interested in combining naturalistic representation with bizarre subject-matter.

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