Arnold Böcklin

Swiss, 1827 - 1901

Vision at Sea

Date: 1896

In 1894 Böcklin settled in Florence, buying a villa at San Domenico, which he decorated the following year with the help of one of his four painter sons. This painting is one of three overdoors which Böcklin painted for the villa. It summons up the Wagnerian world of the Flying Dutchman, with its distant silhouetted ship and suggestions of wraithlike figures round an abandoned and drifting boat, 'almost grey on grey, wonderfully ghostly in its handling', as Böcklin's biographer Schmid remarked. There are also similarities with Burne-Jones, especially his large canvas The Sirens of 1870-98.

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