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THE HOME OF AINO AND JEAN SIBELIUS

WORKS OF ART AT AINOLA

The ties between the artists living on the shores of Lake Tuusula also brought together a range of artistic disciplines. Ainola has a great many works of art produced by friends and relations of the Sibelius family, and especially by the family circle of Aino Sibelius. Albert Edelfelt produced a lyrical pastel drawing of Jean Sibelius as a housewarming gift for Ainola.

The monumental Finnish painter Axel Gallén (later Akseli Gallen-Kallela) painted several of the works of art at Ainola, including a landscape on the lid of a cigar box and Satu (En saga; 1894) which has given rise to various interpretations. In this triptych Gallén sought symbolically to represent in colours and brushstrokes the images aroused by Jean Sibelius’s stirring tone poem En saga. The right panel of the work features a sensitive watercolour portrait of the young Jean Sibelius. The empty space to the lower left was originally intended to be reserved for musical notation in Jean Sibelius’s own hand, but this was never added.

Aino Sibelius’s uncle, Mihail K. Clodt von Jürgensburg of St Petersburg, is represented by several pieces, and the works of her brother Eero Järnefelt are very much in evidence. The best known of these is his soulful portrait of Aino Sibelius (1908).

Sibelius was particularly touched by two paintings by Oscar Parviainen: The Funeral Procession and The Prayer (Death of a Child). The original ideas for these works arose in Paris, where Jean Sibelius and Oscar Parviainen became friends in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1905 Sibelius improvised a funeral march, the mood of which resounded in Parviainen’s mind. He then drew several sketches on the theme of funeral processions, and gave the most advanced of these to Sibelius. When thanking the artist in 1908, Jean Sibelius mentioned that he had recognized the Parisian ideas that had developed through deepening red and black colours, while still retaining the energy of a sketch. The other work, The Prayer, was also a gift to Sibelius from Parviainen. The background to this work lies in the composer’s musical ideas, but it clearly also commemorates the death of his daughter Kirsti in 1900. This work, in which a mother stoops over her lifeless daughter, was a particularly close to Sibelius’s heart.

Ainola also contains several sculptures and numerous works of handicraft, glass items and other examples of arts and crafts; Sibelius’s youngest daughter Heidi (Blomstedt) was, after all, a renowned ceramic artist.

 

Oscar Parviainen: The Funeral Procession.