Akseli Gallen-Kallela

The Defence of the Sampo (1896)

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865 Р1931) is most of all known for his illustrations of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. The first edition of this collection of old folk poetry appeared in 1835. Gallen-Kallela started painting themes of the Kaleeva at the end of the nineteenth century. He strived for a new national renaissance, for which he based himself on the mythical Kaleeva. Gallén started his career as a naturalist, but soon turned to national romantic symbolism.

Between 1884 and 1889 Gallen-Kallela studied in Paris. He painted scenes from bohemian city life in Paris, but gradually authentic Finnish nature, its wilderness and their inhabitants began to attract him. Gallen-Kallela also began to be fascinated more and more by the world of the Kalevala. He wished to capture in his works the nations and its mythical heroes. Around the turn of the century, Gallen-Kallela made a significant contribution to the struggle against the Russianization of Finland by creating art of a national character that demonstrated the vitality of the Finnish culture and the right of Finland to exist as a nation. In later years he also did some impressive landscape paintings.

In Helsinki the Gallen-Kallela museum can be found. This building was originally designed and built by Akseli Gallen-Kallela for himself and his family in 1911-1913, as a combined studio and home.

Lemminkäinen's Mother (1897)

Lake Keitele (1905)

Inspiration (1896)