Akseli Gallen-Kallela was born in Finland in 1865 and has become known as one of the leading practitioners of the international Art Nouveau movement.
The Art Nouveau movement flourished from 1890 to 1914, at which time Gallen-Kallela had already established his position as the leading Finnish national painter. He invented an entirely new formulised language, which brought to his famous paintings of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, a dynamic and unnatural intensity.
A larger than life character, Gallen-Kallela was the central figure in Karelianism in the 1890s. He studied in Paris during the 1880s and was inspired by his life there and by his experience of Berlin Symbolism in the mid 1890s to create his highly individual mature style, in which a powerful vision was expressed in a technique of strong lines and colours and flattened, stylised images.
Akseli Gallen-Kallela died in 1931.