This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of three important Finnish artists: composer Jean Sibelius and painters Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Pekka Halonen. These three figures, all born in 1865, were good friends and played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity in the change of the century. They all lived at least partly in Helsinki, but all partied actively in the capitals artists’ restaurants. In occasion of their anniversaries, I’ll dedicate one writing to each one of them, starting from Akseli Gallen-Kallela as he was born first, in 26th of April 1865.
Akseli Gallen-Kallela is best known for his symbolic paintings illustrating Kalevala, our national epic. He lived in Helsinki, in a house called Tarvaspää that he designed for himself. Tarvaspää was built in between 1911 and 1913, and it is a mysterious mixture of antic columns and rustic style together with massive tower and a bathroom with a window to the atelier. Next to the stone building there is a wooden one with splendid views to the sea, where today one can enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in the most charming atmosphere.
Tarvaspää is a place with lots of memories to me. I remember walking there several times across the ice during winter together with my family and my uncle’s wedding party was hold in the café several years ago. The café and the museum are real hidden gems surrounded by the nature. The Defense of Sampo (1896) is one of the many illustrations of Kalevala that Akseli Gallen-Kallela did.