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22 facts about Mikael Toppelius

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By Gwylym Owen

Mikael Toppelius (10 August 1734, Oulu – 27 December 1821, Oulu) was a Finnish church painter; the last significant representative of the Ostrobothnian church painting tradition. His grandson was the Famous writer, Zachris Topelius.

The family’s original surname was “Toppila”, but his grandfather had Latinized it taking into account entering into a civil support career. His mother was from a family once a long line of clergymen. His daddy was a clerk for the local customs office and an amateur painter, who inspired Mikael’s inclusion in art and gave him his first lessons.

He was unaided fourteen with his usual his first employment from a local priest who had become curious in his career. This practicing painting figures at a church in Iisalmi. As it turned out, the priest’s brother was the Royal Librarian so, in 1751, Toppelius went to Stockholm afterward a letter of guidance to Johan Pasch, the court painter. He remained there as an apprentice for two years, doing decorative con at the castle for the other King, Adolf Frederick.

He returned to Oulu in 1753 and, three years later, was pure his first job as a professional artist, decorating the archaic church in Hailuoto, which burned the length of in 1968. His church painting career eventually lasted on the subject of seven decades. Most of his ham it up was the end within Ostrobothnia and Northern Savonia.

His best-known works are probably those depicting Biblical undertakings in Haukipudas Church, created from 1774 to 1777, which includes his largest painting; a Day of Judgment which trial eight meters broad by four meters high (roughly 26 x 13 feet). From 1786 to 1795, he created similar scenes for the church in Kempele. Other notable works are in the churches of Lohtaja, Siikajoki and Rantsila.

His last project was in Revonlahti, near Paavola, in 1821, the year he died. Overall, he decorated nearly 30 churches. Four of them have been destroyed by fire. Ten were demolished but, whenever possible, his performance was transferred to the further church or donated to a museum. Three (in Piippola, Ilmajoki and Tohmajärvi) still exist in their indigenous form.

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