Finland’s national identity is deeply associated with the Kalevala, a work of epic poetry compiled in the 19th century from an oral tradition of ancient folklore and mythology.
February 28 is officially designated as both Kalevala Day and Finnish Culture Day. Numerous artists, writers and musicians have sought inspiration from the Kalevala, most notably during the national romanticism of the late 1800s. However, few have captured the Kalevala spirit quite like Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931). His illustrations of the epic stirred the imaginations and passions of readers who, through his brush, could see the olden texts come to life.
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