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Lonely Centaur” by
Ferdinand Keller.

Ferdinand Keller, or von Keller (1842 – 1922) became a German genre and history but also allegorical painter who, from childhood, showed precocious tendencies for the arts, making sketches and studies from life. At the age of twenty, he often visited the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe where he studied under Johann Wilhelm Schirmer. In 1866 he travelled to Switzerland and France, and then spent two years in Rome, from 1867 to 1869, where he met Anselm Feuerbach. He brought back from Italy numerous studies of landscapes and people, which he later used in his great historical compositions. Being above all a painter of history, he was nicknamed the ‘Makart badois’ after the Austrian artist Hans Makart, who was celebrated in this field. It was only in 1900 that he was influenced by Arnold Böcklin and, like him, inspired by themes taken from ancient mythology. His landscapes, romantic in spirit, became animated by rustic characters. A magical atmosphere emanates from these evocations of a lonely centaur, the myth of Narcissus or his vision of the melancholy in death as with ‘The Tomb of Böcklin’, a transposition of ‘The Island of the Dead’ by Böcklin; a token of the admiration he had for his master