Arnold Böcklin – The Isle of the Dead III (1883)

At the beginning of the 20th century you could find a reproduction of The Isle of the Dead in almost every middle class household in Germany. Sigmund Freud certainly had one at his office. Even the Russians weren’t immune. Lenin was fascinated by it. After seeing a black-and-white reproduction of the artwork, Sergei Rachmaninoff composed…

Ferdinand Hodler – The Disillusioned One (1892)

Sometimes pain can be overwhelming, stopping in its tracks the most basic instincts: moving, talking, eating, sleeping … the very will to live. Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler may have known a thing or two about pain, having lost both his parents and all five of his siblings to tuberculosis by the time he reached adulthood….

François Barraud – La Tailleuse de Soupe (1933)

Largely forgotten today, François Barraud was a self-taught Swiss painter known for his realism, deeply melancholic, contemplative portraits and nudes. He was influenced by The New Objectivity movement, which also included Christian Schad and Cagnaccio di San Pietro. The movement emphasized the realism of everyday life, without much context being offered: the very identity of…