Die Toteninsel (the Isle of the Dead) is, perhaps, the most famous painting by the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), who is buried in Florence.
Böcklin moved to Florence in 1876. Four years later, in 1880, he painted Die Toteninsel, the first of what would turn out to be five versions of the same theme. The painting was partly inspired by the so-called 'English' Cemetery, which lay close to Böcklin's studio.
In 1883 he painted a third version, adding, for the first time, his own initials to one of the burial chambers in the rocks on the right. In 1933, the painting was acquired by a noted Böcklin admirer and fellow artist, Adolf Hitler.
Böcklin left Florence in 1885, but returned in 1892 when he bought the Villa Bellagio in San Domenico. He died there on January 16th, 1901.
The artist could not be accorded burial in the cemetery that had inspired his most famous painting, as it was no longer open. He was therefore interred in the Cimitero degli Allori (Cemetery of the Laurels), which lies on Via Senese. The cemetery opened in 1860 for the burial of non-Catholics.
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