The English Cemetery; Isle of the Dead

The English Cemetery, Florence. May, 207

The cemetery stands on an island circled with busy roads. It’s said to be the inspiration (or one of the inspirations) for Arnold Böcklin’s painting, “Isle of the Dead” (1880). Isle of the Dead_Basel

Böcklin worked on this piece while he lived in Florence (his studio stood close to the cemetery). Ultimately, he created five versions of this scene; you can view this, the first version, in the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland.


Albright’s Dorian Gray

While at the Art Institute of Chicago, I was jarred, and a bit delighted, to see this macabre thing on the wall facing Hopper’s Nighthawks:

Ivan Albright, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1943-45) The Art Institute of Chicago

Ivan Albright was commissioned to paint this for MGM’s production of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (released 1945). Apparently, he painted it over the production period in order to reflect the lead character’s changes.

A closer look:


It’s by no means an appealing painting, but I do like that it’s seen as more than a “mere” movie prop–in fact, it has a long history of exhibitions (including stints in Italy and Germany) as representative of American art. As Albright’s Dorian Gray signifies two mediums–painting and film–it certainly fulfills that role.