Take a look at this eerie yet oddly charming postcard from Finland! This is a work of art by Hugo Simberg, a Finnish painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I mentioned in a previous post how Gustav Klimt’s style was largely of symbolism; so too was Simberg’s. Instead of a focus on the female figure, though, Simberg’s works combined the realism of daily life with the supernatural, featuring things such as angels, hobgoblins, devils, and Death. Like Klimt, his works were beheld by the public with some trepidation, but unlike Klimt, his style was eventually accepted and he was on his way to do some cool commissioned stuff. One example of said stuff is the Tampere Cathedral (which was then St. John’s Church), where you can find the work depicted in this card. This is titled “The Garden of Death”, and was completed in 1896. Aside from the surface-level humor of scary skeleton guys gingerly nursing some plants, what’s fascinating about this is the sheer irony of Death giving life to the garden. While most of Simberg’s works are bathed in symbolic mystery, he did provide his take on this one: the garden is like a midway point between the passing of life and assumption of the afterlife, and the flowers are human souls. It suggests to the viewer to be at peace with life and not to worry about what happens after it ends. Before my existential overthinking gets triggered… lemme thank Päivi for sending me this intriguing postcard! Thanks Päivi!