Prayer Sermon

Artist(s):Uuno Eskola Date:1923 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:104 x 148.5 cm

Uuno Eskola’s large oil painting, Prayer Sermon (1923), was donated to the University by Aarne Tarén, Licentiate in Medicine, art patron and director of a private hospital in Salo, on 25 April 1923. Tarén commissioned the painting based on a 1916 sketch. A fairly detailed oil study of the work from 1921 also exists; it was on sale at the artist’s retrospective exhibition in spring 1941 (no. 41). As a motif from peasant life, the painting was appropriate to the University’s guiding principles and hung in a visible location in the Committee room between the Chancellor’s room and the teachers’ room. Apparently, it was also hung in the Chancellor’s room at some point. (As more art was donated to the University, the hanging seems to have been modified frequently.) At the new campus, the painting was hung in Fennicum, the building dedicated to research on Finnish and Finnic languages and cultures, in 1969.

In his biography draft, the artist links the painting’s theme with a childhood memory of a moment when a lay preacher has managed to appeal to the listeners’ conscience and move them emotionally. He admired the verbal and rhetorical skills of preachers and tried to achieve a similarly simple yet effective expression in his art.

Artist Uuno Eskola (1889–1958) was born in Salo and began his studies as Edwin Lydén’s private student. In 1914–1915, he studied at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society and at the University of Helsinki Art Room, where his teacher was Eero Järnefelt. In 1919–1920, he studied in Dresden, where his teachers included the prominent Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka. He was a member of the Finnish November Group and participated twice in its exhibitions. In 1915, Eskola co-exhibited his works in Salo with his friend Matti Warén. He also worked as a stage designer, actor and writer and lived in Rauma, Tampere and Helsinki from 1925 onwards.

Tutta Palin 2024

Grahn, Heidi. “Kuvataiteilija Uuno Eskola.” Uuno Eskola. Taiteellisen veren viettelys, 27–28. Salo: Salo Art Museum, 2016.

Tirranen, Hertta. Suomen taiteilijoita Alvar Cawénista Wäinö Aaltoseen. Elämäkertoja. Porvoo and Helsinki: WSOY, 1955.

Uuno Eskola. Retrospektiivinen näyttely – Retrospektiv utställning. Viljo Hurme. Näyttely – Utställning. 22.II.–9.III.1941. Helsinki: Kunsthalle Helsinki, 1941.

Warén, Matti. “Esittely.” Uuno Eskolan taidetta, 5–10. Helsinki: [no publisher], 1950.