This triptych depicts a myth from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, the story of a young maiden named Aino and old Väinämöinen, the mighty sage of the Kalevala people. In the side panels, Väinämöinen proposes to Aino, who shuns the old man and declares she would rather drown herself than marry him. The central image depicts the moment when Väinämöinen encounters Aino yet again, on a fishing trip. Väinämöinen has caught a fish that escapes into the water and transforms into an image of Aino, mocking the old man. The narrative is supported by the wooden framework, complete with quotes from the Kalevala, made by the artist himself. This triptych became the starting point for the National Romantic movement in Finland, which was to become a Finnish version of Art Nouveau.


  • Title: Aino Myth, Triptych
  • Creator: Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Creator Lifespan: 1865/1931
  • Creator Nationality: Finnish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Stockholm
  • Creator Birth Place: Pori
  • Date Created: 1891
  • Physical Dimensions: w413 x h200 x d13 cm (with frame)
  • Inventory number: A I 518
  • Dimensions: 200 x 413 cm with frame, middle section canvas 154 x 154 cm, side canvases 154 x 77 cm
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Ateneum Art Museum, http://www.fng.fi/informationandresearch/photographicservice
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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