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2019 | 8 | 7-21

Article title

Przekład intersemiotyczny. Wyspa umarłych Arnolda Böcklina w różnych stanach skupienia



Title variants

Intersemiotic translation. The Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin in Different Physical States

Languages of publication



This article addresses the issue of intersemiotic translation of a painting, taking as the basis the functioning of Arnold Böcklin’s work The Isle of the Dead in European culture. The theoretical part of the article relates to the basic components of the theory of intersemiotic translation; in particular, it notes the importance of the difference between the closed system of signs and the possibility of their transposition into other sign systems. This part of the article also discusses the terminology used in intersemiotic translation. Since the creation of the first version of The Isle of the Dead in 1880, this work has been regarded as a masterpiece, though frequently – due to its numerous transpositions into various forms of art – as balancing on the border of kitsch. The descriptive and analytical part of the article, divided into four subsections, refers to the ways the painting has been transposed and has functioned in culture. The first subsection outlines the history of the work’s creation and discusses the fundamental changes in its reception, which were influenced by the political and cultural situation in European history. The subsequent parts of the article overview different art forms that have been inspired by Böcklin’s painting thus far. Examples of plastic art include copies, reproductions, and art forms that rupture the border between the image and the word (such as comic books) as well as three-dimensional realizations (such as theatrical sceneries and architectural designs). Examples of works of literature that were inspired by Böcklin’s painting include elements of prose, poetry, and drama (such as works by Strindberg, Aragon, and Tetmajer), whereas the inspirations found in music include musical poems composed by Rachmaninoff and others. Finally, this paper presents an analysis of film productions that have made reference to The Isle of the Dead, ranging from works created in the 1940’s to a commercial movie made in 2013.


  • Uniwersytet Wrocławski


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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