Akseli Gallen-Kallela was born in Pori in western Finland on 26 April 1865. As a child he developed a deep love of the Finnish countryside.
From 1878 he enrolled in drawing classes in Helsinki, and like many art students at the time, he continued his training in Paris.
Gallen-Kallela maintained an international outlook throughout his career and exhibited widely in the major cities of Europe, for example with Edvard Munch (1863–1944) in Berlin in 1895.
His fame abroad was considerable. Yet he always remained attached to Finland and often returned to paint both the tales and landscapes of its most remote and unspoilt areas.