Serlachius museot

Feel free to
come farther

+358 (0)3 488 6800 | Gustaf, R. Erik. Serlachiuksen katu 2 | Gösta, Joenniementie 47 | Mänttä

Open summertime 1 June–31 August daily 10am–6pm.

Sulje

+358 (0)3 488 6800 | Gustaf, R. Erik. Serlachiuksen katu 2 | Gösta, Joenniementie 47 | Mänttä

Open
summertime 1 June–31 August daily 10am–6pm
wintertime 1 September–31 May Tue–Sun 11am–6pm
Closed 6 Dec, 24–25 Dec, 31 Dec, 25 Mar and 30 Apr

Feel free to
come farther

Pearl  of
the  month

Finnish Soldiers in the War of 1808 – 1809
Albert Edelfelt
1892

See the artwork in bigger size

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May 2013

Finnish Soldiers in the War of 1808 – 1809

In 1892 Albert Edelfelt painted Finnish Soldiers in the War of 1808 – 1809, one of his key works, and one of the best known paintings in Finnish art history. Finnish Soldiers in the War of 1808 – 1809 is a history painting depicting brave Finnish soldiers marching in a wintry landscape. As a result of the Russo-Swedish war, Finland was separated from the Swedish kingdom, and annexed to the Russian empire as an autonomous grand duchy.  

Albert Edelfelt was born in 1854. That means he had no experience of the war personally, however he was acquainted with the subject. As a boy he was told stories about the Finnish soldiers and their heroic deeds. Later, as an artist, he understood what a powerful subject the Finnish war offered to the history painting. Edelfelt approached this historical event like a scholar studying meticulously uniforms and other significant details in order to create a feeling of authenticity to his work.

In the late 1890es the interpretation of the Edelfelt’s painting was radically changed as the relation between Finnish grand duchy and Russian empire became more complex. Russia practiced repression policy against Finland, and in this political context Edelfelt’s painting was seen in a new, patriotic light. Quite on the contrary to the historical facts, the solders were not marching for the King of Sweden, but to defend Finland’s autonomous position.  

Mill owner Gösta Serlachius purchased Finnish Soldiers in the War of 1808 – 1809 in 1928. What he may have thought about the painting’s historical or political content is not known. However, it is clear that he liked Edelfelt’s painting a lot. The very same artwork appears on the background of the portrait of Gösta Serlachius painted in 1936 by a Swedish artist Bror Börjeson. If you have a chance to take a closer look to the portrait you can see those marching soldiers.  
 

 

Suvi-Mari Eteläinen

Curator