Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Symbolist painter and all-around craftsperson Akseli Gallen-Kallela is perhaps the most beloved of all Finnish artists. His work is particularly associated with the epic poem Kalevala. Gallen-Kallela created woodblock illustrations for an edition of the Kalevala that is still in print. I have a copy, and with its copious illustrations and decorative flourishes, it’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever owned. Here are some of the woodcuts:

Table woodcut Fish woodcut Archer woodcut

(Click for enlargements)

The Kalevala was also the inspiration for many of Gallen-Kallela’s best-known paintings.

Kullervo Defense of the sampo Väinämöinen

The Gallen-Kallela museum in Helsinki is in the house that the artist lived and worked in, and it has an interesting web page about his life and work.

More art

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