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Painting Of The Week: Lemminkäinen’s Mother by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lemminkäinen's Mother, 1897, Finnish National Gallery Ateneum, Source: Europeana.eu

19th Century

Painting Of The Week: Lemminkäinen’s Mother by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

The Finnish National Gallery recently applied an open licence (CC0) to its digital reproductions of out-of-copyright works, joining leading institutions in the OpenGLAM movement to promote free and open access to digital cultural heritage. These artworks are also published in Europeana and we’re very happy to share them with the world. Today, we’d like you to discover Lemminkäinen’s Mother by Akseli Gallen-Kallela and enjoy the great video created by The Finnish National Gallery.

Created in 1897, Lemminkäinen’s Mother depicts a scene from Kalevala, a Finnish national epic poem. It is a story of the warrior called Lemminkäinen who had been killed following his attempt to kill the Swan of the river Tuonela. His body, hacked in pieces is then thrown into the dark river. His mother collects the pieces of his body and puts them back together.  She looks up to see a single bee bringing back honey from the halls of the god Ukko, hoping that this magic ointment would bring her son to life. The power of a mother’s love transcends the bounds of humanity, and the dead awaken to life. The film takes the viewer deep into another world, into limbo, into a land that does not exist.

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