Isle of the Dead Heads

I did not know that Arnold Böcklin‘s “Isle of the Dead,” painted in the 1880s, was one of the most widely hung, reproduced, and repainted pictures of the late 19th century with a following of countless, well, “dead heads.”

Now, thanks to Sara Fishko, the WNYC (New York Public Radio) cultural commentator and host  of “The Fishko Files,” I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for this maudlin Symbolist painter (whose name is immortalized in an Art Nouveau/Jugendstil typeface designed in 1904 by O. Weisert – bottom) and his opus.

Fishko’s recent weekly segment examines the Swiss-born Böcklin’s work, appreciated and displayed by Lenin, Freud and Hitler (a curious troika of dead heads). The painting was so popular among the masses, Fishko notes, that the artist produced five variations that have circulated throughout Europe and the United States.

I was interviewed for the segment along with Sabine Rewald, a curator at the Metropolitan, where one of the paintings resides, and Diane Fremont, a Jungian analyst.  I think you’ll enjoy the detail Fishko packed into just a little over seven minutes. And what a heavenly voice too. Stream the audio here or download here. And go here for other “Fishko Files.”

Read Saturday’s post here.

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