13.8.1808, Uusikaupunki
19.2.1873, Turku

Ilmatar, 1860

  • 79 × 111.5 cm, oil
  • donation, A II 1256
  • Owner: Suomen valtio
Photo: Finnish National Gallery
Kansallisgalleria / Ateneumin taidemuseo


The figure of Ilmatar in the Kalevala appears in the story of creation. Ilmatar was a virgin spirit of the air who descended into the primal sea and was impregnated by the wind. A duck flying over the waters laid its eggs on Ilmatar’s knee. From the eggs came the earth, the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars. Ilmatar also created the shores and fishing waters and later the great sage of the Kalevala, Väinämöinen. Robert Wilhelm Ekman was the first teacher at the Turku School of Drawing and was also a royal court and history painter in Stockholm. He painted many pictures on themes from the Kalevala in which an exalted classicistic style and romantic influences united the world of the Kalevala with the culture of antiquity.



  • 18.3.201631.12.2021
    Suomen taiteen tarina - kokoelmanäyttely / Historier inom finsk konst - samlingsutställning / Stories of Finnish Art - Collection Exhibition, Ateneum, Helsinki 18.3.2016-31.12.2020.
  • 23.2.20103.10.2010
    RIPUSTUS sali 28. Kalevalan naiset 23.2. - 3.10.2010.
  • 25.9.200910.1.2010
    Kalevala, Turun taidemuseo, 25.9.2009–10.1.2010.