| || |
The picture of Väinämöinen, the epic´s ¨eternal sage¨, by a Swedish painter J. Z. Blackstadius (1816–1898) laid the foundation for the tradition of Kalevala-inspired art, prospering in Finland towards the end of the 19th century.
At the turn of the 20th century, the leading figure in Kalevala art was Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
J. Z. Blackstadius, 1851,
Väinämöinen strings his kantele.
Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm.
The Kalevala Society.
Photo by Johnny Korkman.
The Kalevala Society was established in 1911. Its ideological point of departure was Karelianism, a movement characterized by an interest in the Kalevala, folk poetry, the cultural context of its performance, and Karelia.
The founders of The Kalevala Society were inspired by the life work of Elias Lönnrot (1802–1884): his compilation of the Kalevala, his many field trips to record folk poetry, and his indelible impact on Finnish culture. The founding members were leading figures in Finnish arts and sciences. They included folklore researchers, professors, poets, artists, composers, as well as architects. The Kalevala Society invites new members from among distinguished researchers, artists and translators working with the Kalevala.
Elias Lönnrot signed his foreword to the epic on 28 February 1835. The day is called Kalevala Day, and it has been an unofficial celebratory day for almost 150 years. In 1978 Kalevala Day was granted official recognition as a flag day. Finland is the only country in the world to officially honour its national epic with a celebratory day. Each year, hundreds of events are organised across the nation to pay tribute to the Kalevala.
The Kalevala Society seeks to research, publish, and transmit knowledge about the Kalevala and its cultural history. It also publishes an annual anthology of articles dedicated to various aspects of folklore and culture (Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja), grants awards, and organises seminars and events. The Kalevala Society is also involved in international projects with researchers, artists and translators working with the Kalevala.
- Supports and publicizes research and art based on the Kalevala and Finnish cultural traditions
- Organises events and annually publishes an anthology of articles
- Grants awards
- Collaborates with translators, researchers and illustrators of the Kalevala
The Chairperson of The Kalevala Society is professor Seppo Knuuttila while the vice chairman is professor Hannu Saha. Other members are researcher Irma-Riitta Järvinen, director general Jussi Nuorteva, professor Hanna Snellman, author Antti Tuuri, and museum director Tuija Wahlroos. The executive director is Ulla Piela.
top of page
Mariankatu 7 C, 00170 Helsinki
tel +358 40 538 5144, +358 40 538 5216, fax +358 9 631 721