Finland had a strong Jugenstil movement at the beginning of the last century, resulting in many fairy-tale buildings throughout Southern Finland, like the Gallen-Kallela Museum.
Jugend or Art Nouveau is characterized by organic forms that recall a semi-imaginary fairytale past in Finland. Much art from the era references the Kalevala– the national epic that was compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century. In places like this it is easy to imagine Finland and the Kalevala serving as inspiration for Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.
The museum was a home that Gallen-Kallela built with his wife after extensive traveling outside of Finland. While he was a fantastic painter, the museum does not have a large collection of his paintings, but it has amazing examples of other things he made.
Including furniture he carved by hand:
He also designed the flag flying at the museum, with the intention that it would be Finland’s national flag. Apparently he was not enthused about the blue and white cross.
The walk out from , at the Munkkiniemi end of the N. 4 tram line was beautiful, even in stormy weather. It takes less than half an hour, and follows the water most of the way. You can reward yourself for the trek by visiting a sweet little cafe there, older that the Art Nouveau castle, and pictured above.
It was haunting; worth a visit and the walk is highly recommended!