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.

Author: evadesignseditor

Blue Finn Studio (previously Evä Designs) is my creative studio where I design jewelry and other accessories. I am now back living in Philadelphia after several years finding inspirations at coastal Maine. Please visit my website at!

4 thoughts on “Bringing Art to Life – Did Sibelius Have a Green Fireplace?

  1. I really enjoyed your post. The green glazed tiles and the warm blond wood go so well together. Unfortunately I could not find the book at my local library, but will keep looking. I am inspired too, thank you!

  2. I’m so glad to hear that! For some reason, green has really kept me going during this long end of the winter. The homes of these artists have some most interesting features, such as Gallen’s rectangular columns he designed from three trunks, and Wikström’s guardian spirit of carved wood. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Maybe the fireplace inspired him–but the Second Symphony is written in D major (don’t know what color that would be).

    • I guess orange or yellow might be the color since I Just learned that the key of D major is about victory and rejoicing – maybe golden? (Orange being associated with joy, determination and encouragement.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s