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.

Cross-posted at Looky

More about art

~ by lolarusa on January 30, 2007.

4 Responses to “Akseli Gallen-Kallela”

  1. I am looking for the 1922 edition “Decorated Kaleva” with all the illustrations. Does anyone know how I could get a copy of all the woodcut pictures? Help!!!!!

  2. Hello Katherine,

    A search for Kalevala 1922 brings up an art auction house offering an original 1922 edition for $2,400 (http://www.kettererkunst.com/details-e.php?obnr=411002900&anummer=373). I have more scanned images from the 1996 edition on the Looky website (http://looky.wordpress.com/gallen-kallelas-illustrated-kalevala/).

  3. Thank you for your suggestions. When the internet first started, I was able to get about 150 of these woodcuts. Now I can’t find them anywhere on the internet as a complete set.

  4. I have a copy of the 1922 Kalevala for sale here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/216496309/kalevala-book-gallen-kallela-illustrated


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