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…

Julio Romero de Torres – Mystical and Profane Love (1908)

Part of the reason why art can often be so intimidating is the constant name-dropping and the unrelenting attempts to place each and every artwork within a given temporal, spatial and cultural framework. People should be able to enjoy art without thinking of the movement it belongs to, the various influences exerted over the artist…

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….

Edvard Munch – Melancholy (1894 – 1896)

Best known for his widely-reproduced painting The Scream, no one immortalized the anxiety of modern life better than the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Munch’s works belong to Symbolism, an art movement that emphasized the depiction of the tangible world through the lens of subjectivity and emotions. Strongly believing that humans were powerless in the face…

Gustav Klimt – Danaë (1907)

In the beginning of the 20th century, Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was known for his luxurious paintings and generous use of gold leaf application. Critics called it his Golden Phase. Fascinated by the female subject, the artist returned repeatedly to painting women amidst golden settings. Danaë (1907) is a representative painting…

L. A. Ring – At breakfast (1898)

Perhaps one of Denmark’s most known painters, Laurits Andersen Ring (1854 – 1933) was a representative of both symbolism and social realism in Danish art. Born in a village called Ring, he never lost touch with his humble roots, often portraying wild landscapes and rural life in a realistic style in his paintings. At Breakfast…