Artist Hugo Simberg’s postcard to his twin brother Paul, Tiflis (Tbilisi) July, 15th, 1899. Hugo Simberg Archive. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery.

Editorial: Your Chance to Make New Research more Visible

Hanna-Leena Paloposki, PhD, Archive and Library Manager, Finnish National Gallery


January 25, 2016


Research is carried out in many ways at the Finnish National Gallery. Exhibitions, different kinds of publications – including this FNG Research online magazine – and articles are the most visible results. But our collections are studied in many other ways, too. An excellent example of the latter is the panel workshop for conservators that was recently organised at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, during which several paintings on panel were studied and conserved. An article on it is published in this issue.

The Finnish National Gallery has an important role in enabling research to be undertaken by those outside the organisation, too. Our collections function as subjects for study and as important source material for students and academics, for other museums preparing exhibitions and publications, and to private researchers and others, too.

Now FNG Research is opening a platform for new peer-reviewed scientific articles. We welcome papers in English studying the collections, history or activities of the Finnish National Gallery or its predecessors. This includes a wide range of different kinds of possible research fields and subjects, taking into consideration that our collections stretch from international Old Master paintings to contemporary art and archive collections, and that the activities range from exhibitions to conservation, documentation and public programmes.

We are eagerly looking forward to international collaboration in discovering new approaches, findings, results and points of view through our web magazine.

The guidelines for offering the submissions and the description of the peer-review process are to be found at the section ‘About FNG Research’ or click the link below.

Featured image: Artist Hugo Simberg’s postcard to his twin brother Paul, Tiflis (Tbilisi) July, 15th, 1899. Hugo Simberg Archive. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery.

Download the Full Guidelines for Submitting Articles to FNG Research >>

Marja Kanervo, Pallet I-III, 2013, installation, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen.

Destabilised Gaze Positions and Reminders of Mortality

Marja Sakari, PhD, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

First published in Marja Kanervo. Esiinkatoavaa = (Dis)appearing. Edited by Patrik Nyberg, Jari-Pekka Vanhala & Maija Kasvinen. Museum of Contemporary Art publication 138. Helsinki: Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma 2013

In his seminal work The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard discusses the poetic image, which he posits as something radically different from metaphor, a petrified image to which we have become habituated. A poetic image is something unprecedented, and thereby creating something unprecedented. [1] Marja Kanervo modifies spaces in much the same way as a poet conjures up images and spaces with words. By removing structural components so that displaced elements form written words (MORE/LESS, 2013), or by adding artefacts that redefine their surroundings, she transforms the physical site which the viewer occupies into a dream-like ‘imaginary space’ that is charged with an emotional intensity that is difficult to express in words. The pieces featured in her retrospective at Kiasma in 2013 – a textual panorama, a deconstructed Wendy house, hair-reinforced concrete panels, concrete beds with human hair stuffing, and shirts adorned with buttons of human teeth neatly folded in display cases – acquire their meaning through their emphatic materiality. We viewers are forced to ask ourselves: what are my personal reactions to these seemingly familiar yet strangely warped and disjointed dream-like states?

[1] Tarja Roinila, 2003. ’Gaston Bachelard, tilan ja poetiikan filosofi’, in Bachelard, Gaston, La Poétique de l’espace, 1957. Helsinki: Nemo, 12–14.

Featured image: Marja Kanervo, Pallet I–III, 2013, installation, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen.

Read More — Download ‘Destabilised Gaze Positions and Reminders of Mortality’ by Marja Sakari as a PDF

Download the Full Article as a PDF >>

Touch Wood – Rescuing Rare Panel Paintings

Gill Crabbe, FNG Research

An international expert on the conservation of panel paintings has led a groundbreaking workshop at Sinebrychoff Art Museum, where participants rolled up their sleeves to restore some of Finland’s national treasures

Workshop at Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Wood Panel Workshop at Sinebrychoff Art Museum. Arne Rannaoja and Jean-Albert Glatigny repair the upper section of Madonna and Child Enthroned. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen


In the vaulted White Cellar in the basement of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki, a dozen or so conservators – many from museums across Finland, and including Tannar Ruuben, the paintings conservation lecturer at the city’s Metropolia University of Applied Sciences – are gathered around a table, peering at the back of a 17th-century wood panel painting. The table is specially made for the highly sensitive work of restoring and conserving rare works of art painted on wood. The clamping table, as it is known, has been constructed by Jean-Albert Glatigny, Conservator at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels, who is considered to be the world expert on restoring wood panel paintings. He is here to lead a 10-day practical workshop sharing his expertise in the structural stabilisation of these works with a new generation of conservators, passing on his knowledge in this highly skilled field. The clamping table he has brought with him from Brussels is used to glue splits in the panels and to repair joints with a high degree of precision. Tannar Ruuben was so impressed by it that he decided to buy it for his conservation department.

The workshop has come about as a result of the Getty Panel Painting Initiative, an ongoing project that aims to increase specialised training in the structural conservation of panel paintings and to advance the treatment of these works in collections around the world. The project was brought to the attention of Kirsi Eskelinen, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum’s Director, when in 2010 she met Prof. Jorgen Wadum, keeper of conservation and director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS) at Denmark’s National Gallery, who was involved in the Getty initiative. At that time Eskelinen was head of collections at the Serlachius Museum in Mänttä and had been seeking guidance on the repair of the 16th-century panel attributed to the studio of the Flemish painter Quentin Matsys, Madonna with Cherries which, she says, ‘was actually in two pieces’. Wadum visited Mänttä to advise on how best to proceed with its restoration and, says Eskelinen, ‘he asked us if we need this kind of specialist knowledge throughout Finland’.

Five years on, and in her new position at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Eskelinen’s response remains unequivocal. ‘I want to generate more co-operation in the field of research and care of the Old Masters collections across Finland. As a museum specialising in this area the Finnish National Gallery is keen to develop and share its expertise.’

Read More — Download ‘Touch Wood – Rescuing Rare Panel Paintings’ as a PDF

Download the Full Article as a PDF >>

See the video of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum workshop by clicking on the link below

Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Wild Angelica, 1889, oil on canvas, 103 cm x 56 cm, August and Lydia Keirkner Fine Arts Collection, Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Conferences: Changes in Visual Culture – Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875–1918

19 February 2016

In connection with the exhibition ‘Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875-1918’ (18 Feb-15 May), the Ateneum Art Museum organised an international conference on 19 February, 2016.

Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Wild Angelica, 1889, oil on canvas, 103cm x 56cm, August and Lydia Keirkner Fine Arts Collection, Ateneum Art Museum.
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Download the Programme of ‘Changes in Visual Culture – Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875–1918’ Conference as a PDF >>