An Unigue Altarpiece


According to a biography of Tove Jansson she  painted the altarpiece of the Teuva Church in the summer of 1953. She made a trip at Teuva  in late May after working with the theme for the entire spring. Biography states that she was sincerely touched by the first church work. (Source: Boel Westin: Tove Jansson. Words, pictures, biographies. S. 246). The work was ordered from architect Elsi Borg's proposal. She was the architect of the Teuva Church.

The preceding years before the altarpiece Tove was mostly concentrated in the Moomin books and comics, so she was excited to paint Ten Virgins. According to a biography she was very enthusiastic about the colors and techniques of the painting. " Today I painted cobalt blue dress and carmine black cloak " ... " I feel very competent when I  glue gold.  It becomes immediately smooth and beautiful and does not fool me. As the colors!" (p. 281). The new church was at that time without windows, and sometimes the gold dust floated  away  in the wind.

The Ten Virgins is the only altarpiece painted by Tove Jansson. Religious pictures are unusual  in her production,  although she had drawn them to some newspapers in December 1930 - and the 40th centuries (p. 246). There are a few large-sized paintings by Tove Jansson.

The theme  to the painting Tove Jansson got from her aunt’s husband, who was a priest.   He had asked already at  the 30's Tove to paint about the  comparison of the ten virgins. She did not paint it then, but when he was given the order of the altarpiece, she remembered this theme (Source: Vägen till Mumindalen-TV program. FST)