Akseli Gallen-Kallela: 9 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Boy with a Crow (1884) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'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.'

Démasquée (1888) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'There are also elements which seem to sully the sacred: the paraphernalia in Gallen-Kallela's studio included a crucifix and a Buddha statue, which seem tainted by association being featured in the same painting as this at once alluring and intimidating female flesh - not to mention the ancient, quintessentially Finnish rya rug.'

In the Sauna (1889) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'In his biography of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Onni Okkonen wrote in 1949: "This was a most original idea for a picture, one in which many possibilities were combined: a primitive ethnographical content, an artistically interesting nude study, and the play of reflected firelight and dusky light.'

Wild Angelica (1889) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'In the summer of 1889 in Keuruu, Akseli Gallen-Kallela painted this proud sprig of wild angelica rising from the surrounding willow herbs and birch saplings. According to the artist, he had always admired the simple beauty and boldness of this majestic plant.'

Imatra in wintertime (1893) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaMalmö Konstmuseum

'MM 024143 Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931) Imatra in winter, 1893 oil on canvas, 28,5 x 34 cm. © Akseli Gallen-Kallela / Malmö Konstmuseum'

Flower of Death (1895) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'In late 1894, Akseli Gallen-Kallela went to Berlin to learn the basics of printmaking, which was enjoying a new vogue due to the popularity of Japanese woodcuts and the decorative Art Nouveau style. His trip was cut short when his daughter Marjatta died of diphteria in March 1895.'

The Fratricide (1897) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'Akseli Gallen-Kallela had already painted subjects from the Kalevala in the 1880s, but the true power of the epic only crystallises in his decorative works produced after 1895.'

Lemminkäinen's Mother (1897) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaAteneum Art Museum

'In its universal symbolism, Lemminkäinen's Mother, a study in maternal love, is perhaps the most impressive of Akseli Gallen-Kallela's paintings based on the Kalevala.'

The abduction of Sampo (1905) by Akseli Gallen-KallelaMalmö Konstmuseum

'Finland's old folk epic Kalevala gave him the big topic, which for decades was mastering his imagination. As subjects had "The abduction of Sampo" long been in Gallen-Kallela thoughts, before he seriously took it up in 1905.'

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