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Spring in a Narrow Gorge (Quell in einer Felsschlucht)

Arnold Böcklin1881

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Symmetrically composed with high cliffs and dark trees framing an aperture of sky at the end of a gorge, this landscape features a single birch tree standing brilliantly green. Even without human figures or animals, Böcklin's painting seems decidedly more symbolic than descriptive. Is this a representation of life's brevity or its eternity? Its meaning is veiled; the artist was noted for his ability to conjure mood through landscape without clear narrative content.

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