Ferdinand Hodler was born in 1853 in Gurzelen, Bern. At seventeen he left the Bernese Oberland for Geneva, where he lived in great poverty, trying to earn a little money by painting portraits, scenic views and butchers' shop signs. But before long, he met his benefactor, Barthelemy Menn, who was a friend of Corot, an admirer of Ingres and a teacher at the Geneva School of Fine Arts. He gave Hodler methodical instruction in painting and taught him the rules governing the application of geometry to art.
His first works were inspired by Corot, but he soon freed himself from this influence. Hodler was of a mystical turn of mind, obsessed with his search for the ideal. He also painted a ser
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