The “Mysterious Painting” is an oil on wood painting of the isle of the dead.

The real Mysterious Painting

The “Mysterious Painting” is always genuine.

Now that you know it’s the real deal, hand over your hard-earned bells to Redd. Once you take the painting up to Blathers, it will be placed in the museum between the Calm Painting and the Proper Painting, the description provided on the plaque will read:

Isle of the Dead – Arnold Böcklin, 1883

Oil on wood

A small boat carrying a corpse glides quietly over a still sea to an island of graves surrounded by cliffs. The air of this piece by symbolist painter Böcklin is chilling, but also somehow calm. Böcklin worked here to capture not what he could see, but some of humanity’s inner contemplations.

There are actually five versions of this painting, and one sort of, anti-painting.

These are the five versions painted, from 1880 to 1886, in order of appearance. (Photos are from Senses Atlas, if you want to see more details!)

The version used in ACNH is from 1883, likely chosen because it is the clearest of the five.

Mysterious Painting - May 1883 Version, Oil on board,

May 1883 – Oil on Board – Version 3. Photo from Senses Atlas.

The painting changes slightly from from each version, as the artist starts to receive requests. In the second version, he was approached by a widow who asked him to modify it slightly and so the figure changed to become more female and the coffin was added.

The third version is by far the cleanest, with more details around the burial chamber. In 1933, it was bought by the very famous Adolf Hitler. The fourth version was sadly lost during a bombing, and only a single, black and white photo of it is left.

The fifth version seems to show a lot of wear on the island. Then in 1888, we get the complete opposite – the Isle of Life!

1888 - Isle of Life - Böcklin - Die Lebensinsel

The Isle of Life – From WikiCommons

If you want to see it in person – you can see the 1880 version at The Met!

Looking for more information on the art in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Check out the master list of all the art available!

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