For more than three decades the conceptual artist Marina Abramovic has wanted to create art “dedicated” to the life and art of Maria Callas. She ended up making a work about death instead.

“Most operas end with the woman dying and more often than not, it is because of love,” Abramovic writes in the introduction to a new book The 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (based on her opera of the same name). “She will leap from precipices, burn, be strangulated, stabbed or simply go mad.”

In this case, it’s the latter. This image, by photographer Marco Anelli, represents Abramovic’s take on Donizetti’s Lucia De Lammermoor, which in turn was based (loosely) on Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lamermoor.

The opera was one that Maria Callas did much to revive in the 1950s after decades of neglect. Callas, Abramovic suggests, died of a broken heart (she was in love with Aristotle Onassis who, instead, married Jackie Kennedy). There’s probably an opera to be made from that story too.

The 7 Deaths of Maria Callas by Marina Abramovic is published by Damiani, £55. Photograph © Marco Anelli, courtesy of the Marina Abramovic Archives