Classical Music Month~ September 11

“In 1907, Sergei Rachmaninov saw a black and white reproduction of Isle of the Dead, a painting by the Swiss symbolist artist, Arnold Böcklin…When Rachmaninov saw Böcklin’s original color painting, he…went so far as to say, ‘If I had seen first the original I, probably, would have not written my Isle of the Dead. I like it in black and white’.”

The Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin

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“In 1880 Marie Berna, the American-born widow of a German diplomat, visited Böcklin in Florence, where she saw an unfinished first version of this painting (now in the Kunstmuseum Basel) on his easel. She commissioned the present work as a memorial to her husband, requesting the additions of the draped coffin and the shrouded female figure. Prodded by his dealer, Böcklin painted three other versions by 1886. This romantic image would become one of Germany’s most beloved, widely circulated through poor reproductions as well as a related etching of 1890 by Max Klinger (1857–1920).” ~The Met

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