The Finnish National Gallery to release images of The Convalescent and Under the Yoke into the public domain

Two of the most famous Finnish paintings, Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent (1888) and Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893), will be taken out of the Ateneum to go on tour to other Finnish art museums, starting on 14 February. The tour coincides with the Finnish National Gallery making images of these two paintings freely available for use without asking for permission. Classics on Tour 2017 is part of the Finland 100 centenary year programme.

Images of the two works included in the Finnish National Gallery’s collection will be made freely available for use on 8 February 2017. The images will be made available under the Creative Commons licence CC0, so they can be freely used by anyone. Both images will also be made available in a large file size, and can be downloaded for use from the Finnish National Gallery’s Flickr page.

“Releasing the images into the public domain is our present to all Finnish people. Museums are increasingly making images of the works they hold freely available, with, for example, the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands and the National Gallery of Denmark acting as trailblazers. Anyone can use the images according to their interests and imagination. We hope that they will be used in a creative way, for example, in schools”, says the director of collections management at the Finnish National Gallery, Riitta Ojanperä.

The CC0 licence enables the distribution of images of works for which the copyright has expired, when 70 years have passed since the end of the artist’s year of death. In addition, the Finnish National Gallery is relinquishing the photographer’s copyright that it has acquired. This means that images of these works may be copied, modified, distributed and displayed, including for commercial purposes, without permission.

The Finnish National Gallery’s Flickr page also includes other images of works that have been made freely available, and historical photographs. The page has 10 images of works in the Ateneum Art Museum’s collection, including Albert Edelfelt’s The Luxembourg Gardens, Paris (1887), Hugo Simberg’s The Wounded Angel (1903) and Maria Wiik’s Out into the World (1889), which are available under the CC-BY licence. In addition, there are 48 images of works from the Sinebrychoff Art Museum available under the CC0 licence.

The Convalescent and Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) to tour Finnish art museums as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations, as of 14 February

The Ateneum Art Museum’s Classics on Tour 2017 will see Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent and Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) exhibited at 11 museums across Finland. The Convalescent will start its tour on 14 February at the Åland Islands Art Museum in Mariehamn, after which it will be exhibited in Tampere, Kokkola, Kemi, Inari and Rauma. Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) will begin its tour on 2 May at the Turku Art Museum, after which it will be on display in Hämeenlinna, Lappeenranta, Joensuu and Jyväskylä. The works will tour the art museums in the order mentioned above, and will be on display at each museum for approximately a month.

Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent (1888) was painted in the village of St. Ives in Cornwall, England. The work was initially greeted with a mixed reception in Finland – praised for its technical merit, while considered to be even too realistic in its portrayal. The Finnish Art Society, nevertheless, decided to buy The Convalescent, and it was incorporated into the Ateneum collection soon after its completion.

Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893) is the most famous painting by Järnefelt, who focused on Finnish subject matter, and it is one of the iconic works of the golden age of Finnish art. Järnefelt painted the work, a portrayal of the hard toil of Savonian peasants, partially outdoors, in a slash-and-burn clearing. While painting, he also drew on photographs he had taken of human models and landscapes. Even at the time of its completion, the emotionally powerful work sparked a debate about the rights of poor people.

You can follow the journey of the works and read stories from the various museums at www.klassikotkiertueella.fi (in Finnish and Swedish).