01 tammikuuta 2017

Artist of January - Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Waterfalls of Imatra 1893
Imatra is my childhood home town and I went to school over that bridge for 8 years!

As I told you before, we are celebrating this year our 100th Year of Independence. There are going to be huge celebrations throughout the year. Therefore I thought to look back to years before we reached our independence on December the 6th 1917.

Kullervo Cursing 1899

We were the Grand Duchy of Finland under Russia, before that we had belonged to Sweden. In the 19th century the Finnish language had no official status and it was confined to lower classes while the higher classes spoke only Swedish. However, throughout Europe nationalism and national romantic ideas started to flourish. Elias Lönnrot gathered oral folklore and mythology to our national epic The Kalevala, first edition in 1835. This arouse a lot of excitement also in the Swedish speaking upper classes and the Finnish language and literature started to develop.

Aino myth 1891

Due to these reasons my first artist of this jubilee year is Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865 - 1931). He is one of our most prominent painters, a Swedish-speaking painter who is best known for his illustrations of The Kalevala. His work was considered very important for the Finnish national identity. 

Lemminkäinen's Mother 1897
On the left upper corner you can see The Swan of Tuonela that also inspired Sibelius

In addition to The Kalevala themes Gallen-Kallela painted also landscapes and portraits. In 1909, he moved to Nairobi in Kenya with his family, and there he painted over 150 expressionist oil paintings and bought many east African artefacts. Between 1911 and 1913 he designed and built a studio and house at Tarvaspää, about 10 km northwest of the centre of Helsinki. His house is now a museum and can be visited.

Lake scenery 1901

Photo: Gallen-Kallela Museum, Saana Kytömäki

How I dreamed of my own studio, large, spacious and well-lit, 
where thoughts and ideas could come of their own accord, without the pangs of labour.
- Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Wishing you all a Great New Year!

18 kommenttia:

  1. Another fascinating art post Riitta. The pain in 'The mother of Lemminkäinen' is palpable. I also love lake scenery. Such a contrast and so peaceful. Thank you for joining in again. I love finding about your Finnish artists. B xx

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Lemminkäinen is a key figure in the Kalevala.

      Poista
  2. Riitta Hello!
    I love posts about art, painting.
    I'm happy, I learned a lot of interesting information.
    May your dreams come true in this New Year.
    Lucja

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Glad you liked my post Lucia. The Kalevala has inspired the Finnish culture life in many ways.

      Poista
  3. And I gladly stopped to say that I love to read about history and culture, to discover and learn new and so interesting things! so beautiful paintings and art works. A very informative post! Once again, warm greetings and lots of joys in 2017, Riitta! Happy New Year! La multi ani in 2017! Alexa

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you Alexa for your lovely comments <3 Wishing you a great 2017!

      Poista
  4. Hieno kooste ja kerrontaa Suomesta taiteen kautta.
    Oikein Hyvää Uutta Vuotta Sinulle ♥

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Kyllä näitä vanhojakin taiteilijoita sietää tutkailla - upeita ovat!

      Poista
  5. Happy New Year, Riitta, I too learned things about Finnish history that I didn't know before, the pictures are wonderful.
    Thanks for your company for the first MM of 2017.

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you Maggie and a Happy New Year! The impact of the Kalevala is great even today. Tarvaspää is a wonderful museum to visit.

      Poista
  6. You always help us learn about history and I appreciate that. Happy new year sweet lady! Hugs, Diane

    VastaaPoista
  7. Great paintings.
    Wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    VastaaPoista
  8. How fascinating! Such striking paintings and illustrations. Thank you for sharing them:)

    VastaaPoista
  9. Enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

    VastaaPoista
  10. A painter of wonderful light...
    In my childhood my grandfather has reading for me from "Kalevala" (I should read it again!)
    Happy lightful New Year from Germany

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you all for visiting & for your lovely comments ❤︎ It's good to remember the 'old' painters now and then!

      Poista
  11. Thanks so much for posting! The history is interesting, and I am especially amazed as I view the first painting...how he captured the icy scene...and how special that you know the bridge :) xx

    VastaaPoista
  12. Very interesting Riitta... I knew almost nothing of this history, even though the parents my best friend in high school were born in Finland. At that age, girls are not very interested in history, unfortunately, (even their own family's.). Your December mosaic is beautifully arranged. Happy New Year!

    VastaaPoista

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