Isle of the Dead Redux

May 2013, ‘Dreams of Nature’ , Van Gogh museum.

Freud had a reproduction of the painting in his clinic, Lenin hanged a print of it in his office. Hitler even bought the third original version of the Isle of dead and placed it in the new Reich Chancellery in 1940. Reproductions of the painting , post cards and caricatures’ were sold by the thousands. According to Vladimir Nabokov copies of Isle of dead were to be found in every Berlin home in the beginning of the twenties century. From world leaders, intellectuals and famous artist to middle class German housewives people seem to love the painting “The Isle of Dead”.

In this film Ibrahim Itallie and myself were trying to trace the nature of the spell that this painting cast on it’s viewers? What was the secret of the painting?

And has this appeal faded today? Does the painting still inspire audiences in the same way it did then and why?  Watch the film to find out.