Symmetrically composed with high cliffs and dark trees framing an aperture of sky at the end of a gorge, this landscape features a single brilliantly green birch tree.

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.


  • Title: Spring in a Narrow Gorge (Quell in einer Felsschluct)
  • Creator: Arnold Böcklin
  • Date Created: 1881
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 84.5 × 59.4 cm (33 1/4 × 23 3/8 in.)
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 2010.31
  • Culture: Swiss
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, 1827 - 1901)
  • Classification: Paintings (Visual Works)

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