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Hjalmar Munsterhjelm: October Evening in the Archipelago after First Snow, 1883


In the early 1860s, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm studied in Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe under Hans Gude. His ideas of landscape were influenced by the romantic notions of the Düsseldorf school, while also evincing new, more realistic impulses. October Evening in the Archipelago after First Snow is probably a view from the Turku archipelago. The tonal variations between newly fallen snow, yellow rushes and the sky and sea lit by the moon are rendered with atmospheric richness.

The painting was bought by Alexander III in 1885 from the House of Nobility, where a major exhibition of Finnish art was held at a time that the Emperor happened to be visiting Helsinki. As it happens, there is a rare visual document of the occasion, a xylograph illustration in the publication Heidän keisarillisten majesteettiensa matkustus Suomessa 1885 (‘Journeys by their Imperial Majesties in Finland 1885’).