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Berndt Lindholm: Steamship in Ice, 1875


Only one work by Berndt Lindholm was acquired for the Imperial Art Collection, while no less than three paintings were bought from his rival, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm. Steamship in Ice is not a very characteristic subject for Lindholm. It shows a meeting between a steamer (a technical innovation at the time) and small mailboats in the archipelago, apparently at dawn. It is also a depiction of mail delivery in the islands.

The ship itself is an interesting element: with its masts, sails and funnel, it is a kind of hybrid between a steamer and a sailing vessel. In the history of marine transportation, sail steamers like this represent a period of transition from emission-free transportation to a technology that involves emissions.

Sails were used at sea in windy weather, the engine on calm seas and in narrow straits in the archipelago, and of course for ice breaking. The painting was purchased for the Imperial Collection on the order of Alexander II from an 1876 exhibition in the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. There is another, smaller version of the painting in the collections of the Ateneum, with a more intense light.