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Kullervo is one of the central characters in the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. Akseli Gallen-Kallela's painting depicts one turning point in his grim story. Kullervo is an orphan who is sold into servitude and sent into the wilds as a cattle herder. The evil mistress of the house has filled the loaf she gives him with a stone and when he tries to cut into it he breaks his knife, the only memento of his father. Infuriated, Kullervo summons up a new herd made up of wolves, bears and lynx, which gobble her up. However, Kullervo's problems do not end there and an endless spiral of revenge destroys not only his new-found family but also Kullervo himself. The setting, bathed in the sunlight of early autumn, is magnificent. It is a work that combines the beautiful and the tragic.

Details

  • Title: Kullervo Cursing
  • Creator: Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Date Created: 1899
  • Physical Dimensions: w102.5 x h184 cm (without frame)
  • Inventory number: A II 765
  • Dimensions: 184 x 102.5 cm
  • Collection: Antell Collections
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Ateneum Art Museum, Antell Collections, http://www.fng.fi/informationandresearch/photographicservice
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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