Finnish Artists in Ruovesi

  • 15.11.2019–26.1.2020
Tickets: with a museum ticket
Hugo Simberg: Kevätilta jäänlähdön aikaan, 1897. Kansallisgalleria / Ateneumin taidemuseo. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Pirje Mykkänen
Hugo Simberg: Kevätilta jäänlähdön aikaan, 1897. Kansallisgalleria / Ateneumin taidemuseo. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Pirje Mykkänen

Ruovesi and its surroundings in Pirkanmaa have attracted artists since the 1820s. All the artists who have operated in the region are linked by an interest in the spirit of the place, its nature, people and culture. How has this influenced the art of those who have worked in Ruovesi?

Location: Third floor

The exhibition closes on Sunday 26 January 2020. Extended opening hours on the last two weekends: Tue 10:00–18:00 | Wed, Thu 10:00–20:00 | Fri 10:00–21:00 | Sat–Sun 10:00–20:00 | Mon closed

The first visual artist to make trips around Ruovesi was Werner Holmberg (1830–1860), whose works depicted local nature, landscapes and scenes of rustic life. In the mid-1890s, Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931), who fell in love with the landscapes in Ruovesi, built his Kalela ‘wilderness studio’ there. Exhibits by Gallen-Kallela include paintings depicting the people of the region, Kalevala-themed prints as well as ex libris and prints made by the artist for his friends and family. The exhibition will also present Gallen-Kallela’s painting Wound Fever (Mute Suffering) from 1889, exhibited last time over 120 years ago.

Kalela was visited, among others, by Hugo Simberg (1873–1917), whose work features devil figures, death and natural mysticism, which were inspired by the rustic culture of the region surrounding Kalela. The exhibition displays all 25 of Simberg’s watercolour and gouache works in the Ateneum collection, including Frost (1895) and The Garden of Death (1896).

Ellen Thesleff (1869–1954) also had a studio villa of her own design built in Murole in Ruovesi. Throughout her life, Thesleff explored the landscapes and moods of Murole in her art.

The other artists featured in the exhibition include Lauri Anttila, Gabriel Engberg, Kalle Löytänä, Elga Sesemann and Louis Sparre, who have all lived or worked in Ruovesi. The exhibition presents works that depict the people and landscapes of the region, along with artists’ self-portraits. A total of 140 works are on display and they date from the 1850s to the 1980s. The exhibition is curated by the senior reseacher at the Ateneum, Anu Utriainen.

Read more from the exhibition’s press release


Take a breather at Café Ateneum during your exhibition visit! Café Ateneum is located on the third floor of the museum for the duration of the exhibitions from 15 November 2019 to 26 January 2020, serving savoury and sweet snacks, including Helene pastries. The café is fully licensed. While the exhibitions are on, the café will be open from 11:00 until the museum closes. The café is designed in cooperation with the Antiikkiliike Risto Muuri antique shop and the Järvenpään Kukkatalo florist shop.

Note! Due to the location of the café, admission is only for those who have bought a museum ticket. The café accepts reservations for parties of up to 20 people. Reservations:, tel. +358 40 563 8430


Get more out of your exhibition visit by ordering a guided tour or an exhibition intro!

For groups
During exhibition intro, a guide presents both exhibitions in the museum auditorium with the help of audiovisual materials. Guided tours for this exhibition are held outside museum’s opening hours. Read more about private tours and exhibition intros

For individuals
Free exhibition intros in English are on even-numbered weeks on Sundays at 12:00.


“Finnish Artists in Ruovesi” Lecture Series
Thu 12 Dec, Thu 9 Jan and Wed 15 Jan, 17:00 Ateneum Hall. Each lecture has a different topic. In Finnish. Read more

Check all the events at our events calendar