Akseli Gallen-Kallela's 'Lake Keitele' in 60 seconds
Painted whilst in isolation, Gallen-Kallela's view of a Finnish lake offers a moment of calm.
While convalescing from malaria in the summer of 1904, Finnish artist Gallen-Kallela settled at Lintula Villa on the shore of Lake Keitele in central Finland. He was fascinated by the calm serenity of this view, and painted it several times.
Bathed in sunlight, the glittering surface of the lake and harmony of silvery blues, greys and greens evoke a sense of tranquility.
Yet, there is a hint of darkness.
A mysterious island casts a sombre shadow across the water, and the long, eerie reflections of the trees, are strangely ruffled by the wind. The distant hills have a brooding and ominous feel.
Strips of steel-grey zigzag boldly across the surface of the lake. They capture the effects of wind moving across the water and the currents beneath.
The artist imagined these to be the silvery wake of a boat, as if Väinämöinen, the old wise narrator and central character in the Finnish epic, 'Kalevala', had just rowed past.
At a time when Finland was striving for independence from Russia, Gallen-Kallela expressed his fervent nationalism through art. His meditative paintings convey his deep love of the Finnish landscape, capturing a sense of place and national identity.