The Golden Age of Finnish Art 1870-1920

Dr Adriaan Waiboer, Curator of North European Art, NGI and Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director, Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, at a preview of the exhibition 'Northern Stars and Southern Lights: The Golden Age of Finnish Art 1870-1920', which was on display 8 November 2008 – 1 February 2009 at the National Gallery of Ireland. Photo © Fennell Photography

Dr Adriaan Waiboer, Curator of North European Art, NGI and Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director, Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, at a preview of the exhibition 'Northern Stars and Southern Lights: The Golden Age of Finnish Art 1870-1920'. Photo © Fennell Photography

Press Release: January 2009

Just over one week to go to see the acclaimed Finnish exhibition in the Millennium Wing of the National Gallery of Ireland, Northern Stars and Southern Lights before it closes on Sunday 1st February 2009 (last admission is 4.10pm Sunday). Audio guide free with ticket admission.

The exhibition, which comprises 74 paintings and drawings, explores the highpoint of Finnish painting, also known as the 'Golden Age of Finnish Art', when the country was still a Grand Duchy of Russia. In particular, it includes examples of naturalism in Finnish art, epic landscapes and scenes of everyday life, as well as vivid images inspired by national legends and myths with an emphasis on Finland's national epic, the Kalevala. The exhibition also shows paintings of Early Modernism and the 1900 World Fair in Paris, where Finland had its own pavilion.

It is the first time an exhibition on this scale has been seen in Ireland, and Dublin's National Gallery is the only venue. Tickets for the Finnish show may be purchased on the day or in advance, telephone direct (01) 663 3513.

Raymond Keaveney, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, says that since it opened last November, the Finnish show has attracted a tremendous response from members of both the public and the media who have been pleasantly surprised and impressed on seeing some of the finest examples of Finnish painting, the majority of which have been drawn from the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki as well as other private and public collections. He adds: "The National Gallery of Ireland invests significant resources in its exhibitions programme to do justice to the expectations of its public who have a right to expect world-class shows from their national cultural institutions."

Some visitor comments to date:

 

"Beautiful panels and arrangement"

"One of the best I've seen in the Millennium Wing"

"Really delightful! I have to come back again"

"Way beyond expectation - absolutely excellent."

"Stunning"… "Superb…. "Really enjoyed the Myth and Legend Room. Very interesting visually, but also historically."

"It's my third time at the exhibition and I will come back."

"Wonderful exhibition"…"Breathtaking"…."Gorgeous"…."Uplifting"…

"The audio guide was very informative."…"Gorgeous exhibition. I'll definitely come back to see it again."

"Visiting Dublin for the weekend and just happened upon the exhibition - charmed by it."

The Finnish show is just one of the many exhibitions currently on show at the National Gallery. On view in the Beit Wing until 15th February is 'Hugh Douglas Hamilton: A Life in Pictures' (admission free), while the Turner watercolours exhibition and McNeill Bequest of Miniatures continues in the Print Gallery until 31st January (admission free).

Looking ahead to exhibitions opening in February and March, visitors can expect two exceptional shows: 'Vermeer, Fabritius and De Hooch: Three Masterpieces from Delft', which goes on display from 14th February to 24th May. This in-focus show will have on loan two wonderful paintings: 'The Goldfinch' (1654), by Carel Fabritius (1622-54) from The Mauritshuis, and 'The Courtyard of a House in Delft' (1658) by Pieter de Hooch (1629-84) from The National Gallery, London.

On 28th March, the National Gallery will open an exhibition of over 50 works dedicated to Waterford-born artist, Thomas Roberts (1748-1777), considered the finest Irish landscape painter of the eighteenth century who died at the young age of 29.