Thoughts of Design Inspiration

green stoves


Bringing Art to Life – Did Sibelius Have a Green Fireplace?

Green stove at Halonen artist residence in Finland

Green stove at Halonen artist residence – the door has a sow with a litter of eight – depicting the eight children.

I finally got around reading  a book my sister sent me for Christmas about Finnish artists and their homes (Bringing Art to Life, Otava).  The book is about the residences of Finnish turn-of the century artists –  such as Järnefelt, Sibelius, Cedercreutz, Halonen and Gallen-Kallela.  I now have new inspirations from these artists’ homes! The homes have some very interesting features and are now inspiring me with their colors, especially with their fireplaces.

I have been using the color green recently a lot in my jewelry and scarf creations, and Sibelius, for example,  had the most wonderful green fireplace. Cedercreutz even had a “green room” and he  talked about how he felt about the color green: ” I too have my longing for new dreams, a new future self”, and green “is the color of hope, green lies on every hand, and the tree of life spreads its boughs into the surrounding space.”  The green room in his residence is the library, with green sofa, chairs and table with green curtains and over three thousand books to read.

Sibelius's fireplace in Ainola

Sibelius’ green fireplace in his living room.

The green room at the Cedercreutz residence.

The green room at the Cedercreutz residence.

Sibelius wanted his stove to be green, because he associated the color green with the key F-major. It is an impressive looking stove, I bet it kept the living room warm and provided inspiration for the composer! It was also known that Sibelius enjoyed the garden –  he appreciated vegetables and enjoyed the smells and colors of flowerbeds and visualized the keys as different colors.

Sibelius and Gallen-Kallela were friends, the story goes that one night in Kalela (Gallen-Kallela’s residence) Sibelius wrote part of his second symphony. Was he maybe inspired by the green stove…?

Gallen-Kallela's green stove.

Gallen-Kallela’s green stove.

All images are from the book  Leena Lindqvist, Norman Ojanen, (2008) Bringing Art to Life, Turn-of-the-century Finnish Artists Homes. Keuruu, FinlandOtava.