Opened in 1888, the Ateneum building has always been a house of artists. People have created, studied and experienced art in it from the beginning. The museum’s collection of art originated with the work of the Finnish Art Society, founded in 1846, which began acquiring artists’ portraits of themselves and of other artists. The aim of the Art Society was to demonstrate that art and culture play an important role in Finnish society.
In the decades following Finnish independence, the selfportrait became an increasingly important instrument for examining oneself and one’s work. The collections at Ateneum include both self-portraits and portraits in different media up to the 1970s.
Yrjö Saarinen: Self-Portrait, 1940
NOTE! Its status as a national gallery requires the Ateneum Art Museum to lend its works to other museums in Finland and abroad, and this is one of the reasons why the selection of works on display in Ateneum varies to some extent.
More information on the works and artists from the Finnish National Gallery Collections web service.