(b. 1873, Hamina, d. 1917, Ähtäri)

Death and the Peasant

Gouache, ink, watercolour, 306 x 201 mm
Ateneumin Taidemuseo, Helsinki

Simberg produced chiely small-format watercolours and prints. His favourite themes were the Poor Devil and Death.

Simberg explored the mystery of art and life in his Fairy Tale paintings. Many of his works emphasize the theme of Death personified: for example Peasant with Death and Death Listens (both 1895; Ateneumin Taidemuseo, Helsinki). Another of his most personal fantasy images was the figure of the 'poor Devil', an expression of his alter ego. These demonic creatures can appear either mischievous or sorrowful. Death and the poor Devil represented for Simberg the two poles of grief and joy, of death and earthly sensuality, between which his fantasy world shifted. There are clear links between Simberg's fantasy images and Finnish and international fairy stories, but, unlike Gallen-Kallela, he never took his subject matter from the Finnish epic myth, the Kalevala.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.