The Finnish National Gallery: The Ateneum
As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in September 2017, so this post may not be representative of this site today.
If you’ve been following this blog for any period longer than five minutes, I think you probably already know that I love museums. And while I love lots of kinds, I’m especially partial to art museums (might have something to do with my art history degree). Thus I begin my journey into the Finnish National Gallery, which is comprised of three museums: The Ateneum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum.
Located near the Helsinki Central railway station, this museum is pretty centric and easy to find, and holds the largest collection of classical art in all of Finland.
It occupies a building that once also housed the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and University of Art and Design Helsinki.
Finnish art is extensively represented in its collections, from 18th-century rococo portraiture to the experimental art movements of the 20th.
International art also occupies an important place, with over 650 pieces, including a Van Gogh which, upon purchase, made the Ateneum the first museum in the world to include one of his pieces.
The building, completed in 1887, follows a design by Theodor Höijer, and officially opened to the public in 1888. Though originally it also served as an art school, the building serves solely as an art museum since 1991.