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capable. All three look patient, strong, full of endur-
ance, and noble with the dignity which comes from
living face to face with elemental things. Edelfelt
was thoroughly Finnish in his love of portraying the
sea and the life of the island folk, and these are
among his most delightful pictures. There is the
child's funeral, where the little coffin is conveyed in
a boat across the blue lagoon, a work full of pathos
and beauty; the exhilarating picture where the old
man sails his boat across a rough sea, his daughter
by him ; the romantic scene of young girls boating on
a light night of midsummer, and how many more.
When he paints the meeting of Christ and Mary
Magdalene after the Eesurrection, his background is
a Finnish bay and a birch wood, the Christ wears
the birch-bark shoes common in the Finnish country-



176 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

side and the woman is dressed like a Finnish peas-
ant-girl. He never tires of portraying the worn hon-
est features of peasant women in their natural sur-
roundings, the background often being a charming
little vignette of a red-stained Finnish farm or cot-
tage on the edge of its native woods, in which the
trunks of silver birches gleam white in the sunlight.
He has also left charming studies of the summer life
of the upper classes.

Edelfelt is best known to the outside world as a
portrait painter ; people of all ranks and conditions
in half a dozen countries sat to him. His portraits
are strong and convincing, but have also a high de-
gree of delicacy and charm. They are less accessible
to the public than are his landscapes, but equally
worthy of study. That of the singer Aino Ackte in
the Athenaeum at Helsingfors is one of the finest.
There is also a striking picture of the actress Ida
Aalberg as Hedda Gabler, which hangs in the foyer
of the Finnish Theatre. Interesting portraits of
several eminent contemporaries, including Jean Si-
belius, are introduced into the fresco which adorns
the great hall at the University and represents the
foundation of the University at Abo in 1640. This
fine work, only a portion of which was completed,
owing to Edelfelt 's untimely death, was but one of a
long series of Finnish historical scenes that he
painted with enthusiasm throughout his life, and
which had a real effect in stamping upon the popular
imagination some of the great events of Finnish his-
tory. Most important of all Edelfelt 's works in this
respect were his illustrations to Buneberg's " Tales



PAINTING AND MUSIC 177

of Ensign Stal " (see p. 38). Great as was their in-
fluence from their first appearance, it was trebled
after Russia had begun her attack on Finnish lib-
erties, and many of the pictures have found their
way, through reproductions, into almost every Finn-
ish home, and, by giving expression to, have actually
helped to form, the Finnish soul. The drummer-
boys who head the men of Bjorneborg as they march
through the snow ; Dobeln, risen from his sick-bed to
lead his men to victory at Jutas ; the old magistrate,
his face lit up by a divine light, as, with hand on the
book of law, he defies and finally wins over the
amazed Eussian general these are an inspiration
to noble patriotism to all Finnish citizens, and may
have done nearly as much to popularize the great
deeds of their ancestors as the poems of Euneberg
themselves.

Since Edelf elt 's death by far the most striking
figure in Finnish painting is that of Axel Gallen,
who is still in his prime. He came under the same in-
fluences as Edelf elt in Paris, but is in most respects
a great contrast to him. Edelf elt represents that
side of Finnish nature which is most closely con-
nected with West Europe, and, while he makes a dis-
tinctly national impression, his pictures do not give
one a keen shock of surprise as Gallen 's do. Edel-
felt, again, chooses his subjects mainly from the
coast-lands and the southern, more civilized parts of
Finland, while Gallen goes preferably to the wildest
regions of the interior and the most primitive peo-
ple. Edelf elt 's mentality is of the order of Eune-
berg 's poems, while Gallen has gone for his inspira-



178 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

tion to the ancient legends of his people and delights
in the barbaric extravagance, and the wild vastness
of the "Kalevala" world. In much of his work he
is the spirit of man before it has been disciplined
and civilized, when it is still at war with monsters
and at the mercy of primitive incalculable forces.
His people seem to dwell in wild pathless forests or
by huge mysterious seas, and to be in some ways
pre-human in their disposition. He loves to portray
the vast melancholy of untilled country, the almost
terrible silence of it, the life of the forest and of for-
est creatures before man has dominated them; and
man, slow, obstinate, powerful of body and sad of
mind, rude, brutal, patient, indomitable, dead to the
world beyond a narrow radius.

The atmosphere of such a world Gallen has
rendered very wonderfully in such pictures as
the "Making of Sampo," "Kullervo" and the
"Mother of Lemminkainen. ' ' In the last-named
picture, the mother is sitting by the banks of the dark
river of death, which is bordered by great stones
covered with blood, and on which is seen the swan
which Lemminkainen came to kill. She supports
herself with her right hand, while the left rests on
her son's dead body, which she has pieced together
from a thousand fragments. Her face is turned to-
wards the sky with an almost incredibly intense ex-
pression in its every line, as she beseeches the Cre-
ator to restore the breath of life to the corpse.
Above her head we see a ray of light and the bee
which flew to other worlds and brought the ointment
which restored her son to life.



PAINTING AND MUSIC 179

Of recent years Gallen has rather forsaken the
"Kalevala" and chosen his subjects elsewhere, no
doubt with advantage to his art, which seems to have
widened and become more human and complete.
His manysidedness is remarkable. He ranks high
both as a painter of portraits and of landscape. In
either field his aim is to represent the soul of what
he is painting, to pierce right through the surface
to what lies behind it, to use the outer shell and sur-
roundings of an object to express its inner spirit.
He chooses by preference, and is at his best in por-
traying, subjects that are strongly suggestive and
mysterious, that cause one to reflect and dream. He
is rarely commonplace, but when he finds a sympa-
thetic subject all his powers are evoked, and he im-
presses one by his sheer force of imagination and in-
tensity of expression.

Gallen has also painted some important frescoes
for a mausoleum at Bjorneborg. The following is
a description of one of them, representing the river
Tuonela, the Finnish equivalent of the Greek Cocy-
tus:

" On the bank of the Tuonela stands a group of
human beings, both men and women, old and young,
waiting to be taken to the other side. Thus the pic-
ture represents in other words the different rela-
tions of human beings to death. In the boat, which
is gliding forward on the dark river, sits huddled up,
with her head in her hands, a young naked woman,
while a middle-aged man with a determined expres-
sion on his face is just getting into it. On the bank
we see another naked woman, beside herself with de-



180 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

spair, hiding her face, while a young girl, sadly and
inquiringly, but at the same time submissively, gets
ready for the last journey. An old bearded man
with large corns on his feet sits still with his hands
crossed over his knees, awaiting death. Among the
other figures in this sad and solemn picture our at-
tention is directed first to a man on the right, in
whom the artist has portrayed himself, wearing an
apron and with a trowel in his right hand." '

Gallen, however, does not always strike the dra-
matic and tragic note ; he can also be idyllic. He has
a wonderful feeling for snow, whether feathery on
trees or lying like a shield on the iron earth. Some
of his most charming work consists of snow scenes
in the hush of winter. He also loves tranquil sum-
mer nights and days by the water. His " Bathing
Girls" is a masterpiece of this kind, daring in de-
sign and colour, exquisite in feeling. The joy of life
is expressed in every line of the glowing picture, with
its blue water, which becomes brilliant gold where
the sun strikes it, and its beautiful figures and quaint
attitudes of young girls tingling with unconstrained
enjoyment as they splash one another or roll on the
sand at the water's edge. Again, in the triptych
representing the story of Aino an earlier work,
while French influence was still strong a more hu-
man and lyrical atmosphere prevails. In one of the
side panels we see Aino dressed as a peasant girl
and wearing birch-bark slippers, followed by the
white-bearded Wainamoinen through a twilight wood
of pines and birches, between the stems of which
gleams the sunset. It is a characteristic piece of



PAINTING AND MUSIC 181

Finnish landscape. In the other side panel Aino is
sitting naked on a rock by the water, watching the
water-maidens disporting themselves. Aino, it may
be remembered, was drowned, and Wainamoinen
sought her everywhere, disconsolate. The centre-
piece represents the story of how he caught her in
the form of a salmon and drew her into his boat, only
to lose her again. We see the old man leaning for-
ward in his boat with arms outstretched and Aino,
in human shape, plunging into the water. The land-
scape is of a blue lake with pine-clad shores, and
suggests utter loneliness. The boat, which is
streaked with a rough decoration of red and fur-
nished with the pointed oars common in the north of
Finland, rocks from the shock of Aino's leap from it.

Perhaps the most interesting figure in Finnish
painting after Edelf elt and Gallen is Eero Jarnef elt.

He is a type of the artist par excellence; he lives
preferably remote from the bustle of modern life
and careless of the demands of the public. In an age
that admires stress and violent accentuation he is
liable to be overlooked. There is about his work no
fuss nor self-advertisement, and he does not paint to
advance any cause, artistic or otherwise. He is con-
cerned to put on the canvas his own quiet but intense
vision. He has painted landscapes which, as you
gaze on them, reveal through the temperament of a
lyrical poet the very soul of Finnish nature ; and he
can combine his vision of nature with the note of
human endurance and suffering, as in his picture of
" Burning the Forest," which is, as it were, a re-
strained cry of pain. The girl with the blackened



182 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

face, who stares out at us from amidst the rolling
smoke and the flames, is an image of tragic child-
hood which grips the heart. Jarnefelt is also a fine
painter of portraits, especially if he is interested in
his subject. The noblest of his portraits is, perhaps,
that of Matilda Wrede, the saintly woman who has
left a position of comfort and social distinction to
give up her life to the service of the men and women
in Finnish prisons. Few artists could have painted
her with such sympathy and understanding, for few
modern artists have the passionate and intense con-
templation which is necessary in order to shadow
forth on canvas the human soul.

There are many other artists of established repu-
tation whose work cannot be more than referred to
in this brief sketch. Westerholm has long enjoyed
fame as a landscape painter. His snow scenes,
painted by preference when there is rather a dead
atmosphere, reveal a loving and careful study of the
moods of his native scenery that recalls Words-
worth. Enckell is a painter of great refinement of
perception and considerable originality of outlook,
delightfully free from slovenliness of execution.
Thome, Faven and Finch are all artists who stimu-
late by the genuine originality of their vision; the
latter, though an Englishman, has rendered the hard
and brilliant loveliness of Finnish landscape in sum-
mer as successfully as any of the Finnish artists.
These painters, whose inspiration is derived in con-
siderable measure from contemporary French art, are
developing a studied, subtle and refined technique, a
conscious simplicity of treatment, which aims at dis-



PAINTING AND MUSIC 183

pensing with all unnecessary detail. It is probably
to them and the group of which they are members
that the future belongs, and their annual exhibition
is looked forward to with deserved interest.

Many of the younger artists are handicapped by
poverty, which prevents them from studying abroad,
this in its turn perhaps inducing among them too
great a contempt for the traditions of painting. The
conditions of picture-selling in Finland are also un-
favourable to them. It frequently happens that the
richest men have not yet learned the art of buying
pictures, and often, when they have acquired it, pre-
fer to purchase foreign works. Consequently the
Finnish artist has to do most of his work for mu-
seums and lotteries, and one of the greatest needs of
the present day is a public possessing insight and
discrimination which will buy Finnish pictures.

Even more than in painting, the soul of the nation
is mirrored in its music. It has already been pointed
out that the " Kalevala " is but the co-ordination
into an epic poem of a vast number of songs, handed
down from generation to generation. The old runo
singer is fast dying out, but the love of song re-
mains, and shows itself in the extraordinary wealth
of folk-song which exists among the Swedish- as
well as among the Finnish-speaking population. As
in other countries, it was gradually being forgotten,
but of recent years much has been snatched from
the jaws of time with commendable energy.

The Finnish folk-songs are not purely Finnish in
origin. Modern research shows that the popular



184 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

melodies of most countries have wandered about
from one land to another, and those of Finland are
no exception to the rule. In them we do but find
Finnish characteristics stamped on to what was
originally a common European stock. Nevertheless
the national note is strong in them. It is both grave
and gay, seeming in the one case to embody the surg-
ing joy of the summer on which no darkness ever
falls; in the other, the long snow-lit twilight of the
winter, when for months on end the sun scarcely
peeps above the level of the frozen earth. Among
the Finnish-speaking population especially, the sad
note predominates, sorrow and loneliness being the
favourite themes. " In this country," said Lonn-
rot, ' ' people often dwell far apart from one another
and therefore seek friends and companions in the
whole of Nature. They imagine that all things in
Nature have life, feeling and the power of speech.
If any one goes to a foreign land, the sun and the
wind are his old friends. If the young bride leaves
her home and grieves that all there will forget her,
she knows that at least the osiers and wattles will
recognize her when she returns. . . . But the glad
and happy also seek Nature's companionship. Joy-
ous girls beg the cuckoo to sing them silver and gold.
Mountains, trees and animals express their thoughts
to each other and to human beings. " The ancestral
love of song is also clearly expressed in the actual
life of to-day, and one cannot help realizing that it
springs out of the inmost heart. of the people. In the
long summer evenings people sit together and sing.
On anniversaries, choirs sing before the statues of



PAINTING AND MUSIC 185

Finland's great men. At dinners given to honoured
guests, singing is often part of the entertainment
offered. The Finns imprisoned in Eussia for de-
fending the constitution have often been sent off with
singing and welcomed with singing on their return.
From emigrant ships upon the Atlantic floats the
sad cadence of Finnish song, and in the new world
the Finns meet together and sing their country's im-
memorial songs in a strange land.

Modern music is a very recent growth in Finland,
and its development has been extraordinarily rapid.
It may be said to have commenced with the founda-
tion of the very interesting Musical Society at Abo
in 1790. The " father of Finnish music," Frederic
Pacius (1809-91), was German by origin and made
German influence, notably that of Mendelssohn and
Spohr, strongly felt. Richard Faltin (born in 1835),
who did a great work in introducing more modern
music into Finland, was also born in Germany. The
first distinctively Finnish composer was Karl Col-
Ian, Pacius' son-in-law (1828-71). He was followed
by Martin Wegelius and Eobert Kajanus, the latter
of whom founded the Philharmonic Orchestra at
Helsingf ors, and is in his composition a worthy fore-
runner of Sibelius. He did much to give Finnish
music the national direction it has since taken. Of
other present-day composers, beside Sibelius, the
most interesting are Selim Palmgren, Erkki Melar-
tin, Oscar Merikanto and Armas Jarnef elt, all young
men.

Finnish composers have, as might be expected,
turned mainly to folk-song and the " Kalevala "



186 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

for their themes. The latter, with its vast indefi-
niteness, is full of suggestion to musicians, and, if
Finland develops a national opera, will no doubt
furnish its heroes and heroines, as Homer did for
Greek tragedy. In this way Finnish legend may be-
come more widely known to the rest of Europe.

Among Finnish composers Jean Sibelius is by far
the greatest. While transcending the limits of na-
tionality and forming part of the main current of Eu-
ropean music, he is yet distinctively Finnish in his
love of Nature and his patriotism. The latter is dis-
cernible in his choice of subjects, both for orchestral
music and for songs, but it is best described as an
atmosphere pervading all his work. Not only did he
often turn to the " Kalevala " for his inspiration,
but also to that other great source of national feel-
ing, the poems of Euneberg. He is a great lover of
Nature and there seems to be something peculiarly
Finnish in his way of apprehending her, the Finn-
ish landscape in all its moods being often brought
most vividly into the mind of the hearer. There is
a keenness of perception that reveals the composer
as gifted with highly developed physical senses, his
works sometimes giving one the effect of bracing
days spent in the country. He also rejoices to por-
tray in his music the crashing of storms through the
forest and over the water. He excels in depicting
poignant moments, especially in his songs, which are
among the finest of modern times.

It is appropriate that a nation in whose music the
song has always played so great a part should be
unusually rich in fine voices. Their quality is clear



PAINTING AND MUSIC 187

and metallic, like the physical atmosphere of the
country. Finnish singing is rich in spontaneous feel-
ing and has a fine primitive quality. Probably we
shall hear much of Finnish singers in the future.
Compared with the best German singers, they are
perhaps deficient in the highest gifts of style, polish
and culture, and lieder singing has been but little
developed among them. It is rather in opera and
folk-song that they shine, where finesse is less requi-
site and their simplicity and strength tell. When
they sing the songs of their native country really
well, one has the impression, not of exquisite art, but
of the simple utterance of nature, heartfelt and in-
evitable, the sublimation of peasant song. Choral
singing is a great feature of Finnish life and some-
times reaches a very high level, as in the choir Suo-
men Laulu.

Thanks to Mme. Aino Ackte, who needs no intro-
duction to British readers, Finland has initiated a
musical festival which may come to have a national
importance. It is held in the summer at Nyslott, in
the heart of Finland. Here the ruins of a noble
castle rise from a rocky island in the great Saima
chain of lakes, and thither go up the lovers of Finn-
ish music to listen to Finnish choirs, a Finnish
opera, and native compositions of all kinds. It is a
wild romantic spot, and the castle with its grounds
an ideal setting for Finnish opera. It remains to be
seen whether the festival will have any effect in de-
veloping musical talent ; it certainly gives local com-
posers a chance of bringing their works before a
wider public.



CHAPTER X

EDUCATION"

ELEMENTARY schools in Finland date from
the eighteen-sixties. In early times the priest,
assisted by the sacristan, was the only schoolmaster.
It devolved on him to teach the people to read, and
laggard pupils were braced to their task by the law
of 1686, which enacted that no one might receive the
Holy Communion who had not a knowledge of the
Scriptures, nor be married who had not both re-
ceived the Communion and learned to repeat Lu-
ther's catechism. Parents were expected to take
their share in the work of instruction at home, on
pain of being fined. When the inadequacy of this
system became too glaring, parish schools were es-
tablished, and as, in so thinly populated a country as
Finland, these could not be instituted in sufficient
numbers to provide for the needs of the more remote
households, that interesting phenomenon, the ambu-
latory school, came into existence. Teachers jour-
neyed from place to place and settled down to in-
struct for a few weeks at each. Such schools still
exist in some of the more remote parts of Finland.
They belong to and are kept up by the parish, and
will disappear if State elementary education is made
compulsory. They act as a sort of preparation for

188



EDUCATION



189



the elementary schools, which latter presuppose in
their pupils at entrance a certain knowledge of read-
ing and the Scriptures.

It was during the period of progress after Alex-
ander II 's accession that the present system of ele-
mentary education was established through the foun-
dation of the Folkskola (People's School). In 1863
the first training college for elementary teachers was
opened at Jyvaskyla, with Finnish as the language of
instruction, and when, after a four years ' course, the
students left the college to take up the practical
work of teaching, the elementary school was fairly
launched. 1

1 In 1908 there were 2,663 such schools in the country-side
alone, of which 89 per cent were mixed schools. The following
table shows the rapid spread of elementary schools since 1877,
together with the tendency of the mixed school to replace the
separate schools for boys and girls. The figures relate to schools
in the country only. These, of course, constitute the great ma-
jority of Finnish schools. Those in the towns will be referred
to later.



Year


Total Number of
Schools


Mixed Schools


Percentage of
Mixed Schools


1877-8


357


172


48.2


1887-8


755


446


58.7


1897-8


1,510


1,206


79.9


1907-8


2,663


2,369


89.0



If we divide the country schools according to the language
of instruction, the result for 1907-8 is as follows:

Finnish 2,279

Swedish 374

Both Finnish and Swedish 10

The total number of children attending the country elemen-
tary schools in 1907-8 was 112,362.

There are two terms, from September 1st to December 20th,



190 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

The subjects taught at the elementary schools in-
clude reading, writing, arithmetic, Scripture, his-
tory, geography, the elements of science, singing,
drawing and gymnastics. The most original feature
of the instruction is, however, the time devoted to
sloid, or manual labour. The girls are taught sew-
ing, knitting, darning, patching and dressmaking,
and in some schools cooking, while the boys pass
from working in paper and pasteboard to woodwork
and carpentering. The theoretical knowledge ac-
quired through arithmetic, geometry, drawing and
natural science is thus practically applied. The chil-
dren are particularly fond of this part of their work,
and the idea might with advantage be adopted in
other countries.

The teachers are trained in special training col-
leges, of which there are at present eight. 1 Ten

and from January 15th to June 1st, the school year beginning
on September 1st.

The hours of instruction are usually 8 to 10 and 12 to 3 or
8 to 11 and 1 to 3. At the end of every hour there is a pause of
ten minutes, an excellent custom. The school age is from nine
to thirteen, the school course lasting for four years. The aver-
age number of children in a school was in 1907-8 42, the average


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