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Wars and heroes


War themes and battle scenes were common in the palaces and castles of princes and rulers. The first three paintings in the Imperial Art Collection were commissioned from the Russian-Finnish artist Wladimir Swertschkoff. They are all associated with the Crimean War 1853–1856. One painting is a battle scene, two are portraits of war heroes. The picture of a peasant, Matts Kankkonen, is particularly interesting because at the time official portraits were rarely painted of ordinary people.

The fourth painting about the Crimean War is by Aleksander Beidemann from 1857. It depicts the Battle of Hanko Peninsula and shows the peculiar straight lines of soldiers in that battle. Such depictions of large troops were particularly common in French war paintings, the most notable representative of the tradition being General Louis-François Lejeune from the time of the Napoleonic Wars.