Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Henkinen sukulaisuus taiteilija Ester Heleniuksen tuotannossa ja sosiaalisissa suhteissa

List of Authors: Palin Tutta

Publisher: Suomen Historiallinen Seura, Historian Ystäväin Liitto

Place: Helsinki

Publication year: 2017

Journal: Historiallinen Aikakauskirja

Journal acronym: HAik

Volume number: 115

Issue number: 2

Number of pages: 15


Spiritual Friendships. Ester Helenius, Her Artistic
Production and Social Relations.

An interest in esoteric spirituality, and theosophy more
particularly, was shared by many artists and cultural agents during the late
19th and early 20th century; spiritual friendship could serve as a vehicle for
affective mutuality, intimacy, and social experimentation, constituting networks
that facilitated an artist’s career. In the oeuvre of the Finnish painter Ester
Helenius (18751955) this interest becomes
evident in a recurrent thematic of messianism and initiation in which
spirituality is conveyed through a generalized topos of the closed eyes. Based
on new empirical findings concerning the artist’s life and her intellectual and
ideological milieu, intertwined with a close analysis of the key motif of
Christ and Saint John, an enactment of same-sex intimacy that is anchored in
her personal life choices can be detected. Esoteric spirituality thus appears as
something deeply social, as well as socially and politically complex. In the
case of Helenius, it is embedded in a paradoxical coexistence of allegedly
conflicting identity markers such as ardent Francophilia and Nationalism
invoking the idea of a ”Greater Finland”.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:58