Boy with a Crow has made people wonder how the 19-year-old Akseli Gallen-Kallela who had never been to France could paint such a picture in the manner of Parisian realism. His stylistic inspiration has obviously been the art of Jules Bastien-Lepage, admired by most young Finnish painters of the time. Actually Gallen-Kallela had taken private lessons the previous winter from Albert Edelfelt, who lived in Paris and had been the source of these influences of outdoor realism. The subject of the painting is the character of this peasant boy, whom the artist knew from before. Gallen-Kallela has said that the secret of his success with the painting was leading the boy to believe he could tame the crow by sprinkling salt on its tail feathers.