Hodler was born in Berne, Switzerland. His parents died when he was young and his brothers and sister also died at an early age. Death was a common subject among the Symbolist artists of the 1880s and 1890s, and it is also one of the main themes in Hodler's art. Late in his career Hodler produced a series of mountain landscapes of the Lake Thun area, near Berne. A deeply religious artist, Hodler was very conscious of the symmetry in the life-cycle of birth and death and saw symmetry in nature as an extension of this.