Gallen-Kallela Museum


 Admission with Museum Card

Tattooed Artworks

Well-known works of art have turned into tattoos in the Gallen-Kallela Museum’s exhibition of photographs.

Over a period of around two years, media artist Harri Larjosto and the Gallen-Kallela Museum searched for people with tattoos based on works of art. The numbers of classic artworks living on human skin exceeded all expectations. Larjosto went on to photograph and interview one hundred people.
‘People have surprisingly serious reasons for bearing a picture, art on their skin, throughout their lives,’ says Larjosto. People reveal their own moving, fascinating and amusing stories through this highly intimate exhibition and its book.

Artworks living on the skin provide a new perspective on the meaning of art in the present age. Since the 1990s, tattoos have become increasingly popular, resulting in an outright boom as part of mainstream personal decoration. Many people with tattoos of artworks, however, seek to make a distinction from the mass. Images of art are felt to have a deeper meaning and value, being attached to history and culture. At the same time, tattooed works of art are transferred from museums and the pages of books to completely new settings and to be part of people’s lives.

Among the tattooed works, the most popular artist proved to be Akseli Gallen-Kallela with The Defence of the Sampo (1896) and other subjects from the Kalevala epic. For many people, the tattooing of classics of Finnish art was associated not only with the idea of their own roots but with an appropriation of national symbols: the shared cultural heritage must not wind up solely the property of nationalists.

Other artists whose works were reproduced on skin include Hugo Simberg, the von Wright brothers, Alphonse Mucha, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dalí and Leonardo da Vinci.

Share this with your friends!

Print version

Museum contact details

Gallen-Kallela Museum
Gallen-Kallelan tie 27, 02600 Espoo

(09) 849 2340

Museum website

Admission fees

Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card

9/7/5/0 €

Payment methods

käteinen, pankkikortti, visa, mastercard, smartum, virike

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram

Opening hours

Mon 11:00-18:00
Tue 11:00-18:00
Wed 11:00-18:00
Thu 11:00-18:00
Fri 11:00-18:00
Sat 11:00-18:00
Sun 11:00-18:00

closed 24.12., 25.12., 22.6. and 4.9.-9.9.2017

Näyttelyn tekstit kielillä


  • Tamminiemi


  • Hotel and Restaurant Museum

    Hotel and Restaurant Museum

    The Hotel and Restaurant Museum is a museum specialised in the history of hotels, restaurants, cafés, tourism...

  • National Museum of Finland

    National Museum of Finland

    Finnish life from prehistoric times to the present.

  • The Finnish Museum of Photography

    The Finnish Museum of Photography

    The Finnish Museum of Photography presents exhibitions of Finnish and international photography by...

  • Villa Gyllenberg

    Villa Gyllenberg

    The Villa Gyllenberg museum, which is comprised of the Gyllenberg family home and an adjoining gallery, is...

  • HAM Helsinki Art Museum

    HAM Helsinki Art Museum

    Art is popcorn for the brain! HAM Helsinki Art Museum looks after the art collection that belongs to the...

  • Didrichsen Art Museum

    Didrichsen Art Museum

    The Didrichsen Art Museum is a unique combination of art museum and a private home on Kuusisaari island.

  • Kunsthalle Helsinki

    Kunsthalle Helsinki

    Contemporary Art & Design since 1928.

  • Finnish Museum of Natural History, Natural History Museum

    Finnish Museum of Natural History, Natural History Museum

    The exhibitions at the Natural History Museum showcase biological diversity from Finland and other parts of...

  • Rock Church (Temppeliaukio)

    Rock Church (Temppeliaukio)

  • The WeeGee Exhibition Centre

    The WeeGee Exhibition Centre

    A cultural meeting place in Tapiola

  • Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

    Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

    The Open-Air Museum of Seurasaari is a beautiful green island just a few kilometres from the heart of...

  • Theatre Museum

    Theatre Museum

    Theatre Museum’s exhibitions transport visitors into the theatre and backstage to see and experience what...