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The painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela was a national hero in Finland, and his work is considered a major part of the Finnish national identity. He was best known for his illustrations of the epic poem Kalevala, and his name was changed from Gallén to Gallen-Kallela in 1907. This is why many people are familiar with his paintings.

The Gallen family roots trace their lineage to the Kallela farm in the Lemu municipality near Turku. The elder brother Peter Wilhelm Gallen studied in Tyrvaa with his elder brother, and later succeeded him as the Tyrvaa police chief. Peter Wilhelm Gallen married Sofia Antoinette, who was his adopted daughter. In 1841, he bought his share of the Vanni estate and became a member of the Finnish government.

Aside from his paintings of Finland, Gallen-Kallela also created works for the French and German wars. During the Finnish civil war, Gallen-Kallela was asked by General Mannerheim to design the state symbols. He was also commissioned to design the uniforms of the newly independent Finland. His work was admired in France and the United States, and he became an adjutant to Mannerheim in 1919. His most famous work, 'The Finn,' was his epos-decoration.

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