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Knut Magnus Enckell
(November 9, 1870 - November 27, 1925) Finland

Magnus Enckell



Enckell was born the sixth and younghest son in a vicar's family, in a small provincial town in eastern Finland. he studied painting in Helsinki, then later in Paris at the Académie Julian, where he joined the Symbolist movement. Thanks to his intellectual cosmopolitanism, Enckell became one of the leading figures in Finnish art circles.

Tampere altarpieceIn 1907, he was asked to paint the altarpiece for the new cathedral in the city of Tampere. In the middle of the painting, which portrays the Resurrection, two men walk hand in hand - a detail that has often been ignored. Enckell died in Stockholm and his funeral was a national event. He was buried in the town of his birth.

Magnus Enckell - painting

Enchkell's private life aroused fairly little interest. His love affairs with men have not been denied but they have been considered irrelevant. Scholars and critics have often downplayed the homoeroticism and celebration of male beauty in Enckell's work; it has been either ignored or explained in terms of sublimated emoton.

Magnus Enckell - painting

In particular his little-known sketches have a strong homoerotic overtones. In an original mixture of classical mythology and the modern avant-garde, Enckell's naked men and boys are openly erotic and sensual. The masculine nakedness in his paintings is never innocent.

Magnus Enckell - painting


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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