new chancellery

Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901)
“Isle of the Dead” (1883) (third version)
Oil on panel
Symbolism
Located in the Alte Nationalgalerie , Berlin, Germany

“Isle of the Dead” is the best known painting by Böcklin. Böcklin himself provided no public explanation as to the meaning of the painting, though he did describe it as “a dream picture: it must produce such a stillness that one would be awed by a knock on the door.“ This version was painted for Böcklin’s dealer Fritz Gurlitt. In 1933, this version was put up for sale and a noted Böcklin admirer, Adolf Hitler, acquired it. He hung it first at the Berghof in Obersalzberg and, then after 1940, in the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin. It is now at the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

2

On this day, 16 January, in 1945, with Berlin under massive Allied bombardment, Adolf Hitler moved into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker. Located beneath Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, it was the last of the Führer Headquarters to be used by Hitler. Here, during the last week of April that year, he married Eva Braun, before they turned to suicide. It was of course a must-see for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill three months later.