Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) is the most famous Swiss painter of the early 20th century. In Switzerland, he is best known for his large scale figure paintings, but internationally, he is known for capturing the beauty of the Swiss landscape and for his historic allegories. Hodler studied decorative painting with his stepfather and later with Ferdinand Sommer, a local landscape painter. Once Hodler moved to Geneva, he studied under Barthélémy Menn, and was greatly influenced by the work of Hans Holbein.
Realism characterized Hodler's early works, but as his work evolved, influences from genres such as symbolism, art nouveau and expressionism are evident. He developed his own style called parallelism defined by large dreamlike subjects, linear principles and the repetition of similar colors and forms.