(b Kiiala Estate, nr. Porvoo, 21 July 1854; d Haikko, nr. Porvoo, 18 Aug. 1905). Finnish painter, who with Gallen-Kallela ranks as his country's leading artist in the 19th century. He trained in Antwerp and then in Paris, where under the influence of his friend Bastien-Lepage he took up plein-air naturalism. His paintings gave a fresh interpretation of Finnish country life and he sometimes set biblical scenes in the Finnish landscape (Christ and Mary Magdalene, 1890, Atheneum, Helsinki). Much of his later work was on themes from Finnish history, a type of patriotic work that reflected opposition to Russia's growing oppression of his country. Edelfelt was also an outstanding book illustrator and portraitist.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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