Finnish Artists in Ruovesi

Hugo Simberg: Spring Evening When the Ice is Melting, 1897. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / 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 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.

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 keeper of prints and drawings at the Ateneum, Anu Utriainen.

Read more from the exhibition’s press release


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

Press releases

Handrail renovation starts on 7 October 2019

We are improving the safety of the main stairwell at the Ateneum. Handrails, located approximately 90 cm from the wall, will be built on both sides of the main staircase and part of the side staircases. The new handrails will be more accessible than…

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