Carl Gustaf Estlander
Carl Gustaf Estlander (1834–1910) was a gifted son of a clergyman from Lapväärtti, who studied aesthetics at the University of Helsinki under Fredrik Cygnaeus whom he succeeded as professor. His academic achievements, at least in visual terms, included the first lectures in art history ever given in Helsinki at a time when there was still no regular instruction in the subject. Estlander was also the author of the first work on Western art to be published in Finland. Although Estlander's tastes in art may have remained outmoded by the standards of the late 19th century, he had an active interest in human achievement and productivity, and the new industries of the period.
Estlander's interest in modern applied arts was pedagogically oriented. He wanted to raise applied art to the sphere of civilized pursuits, to improve the tastes of craftsmen on the one hand, and the status of applied art among the arts, on the other.
Carl Gustaf Estlander became involved in many pursuits. He established the Helsingfors Dagblad newspaper, which was very influential in its day, followed by the respected journal Finsk Tidskrift, but he preferred to remain apart from boards and chairmanships. The Ateneum building in the centre of Helsinki was his most ambitious project, and was realized as planned. Owing to Estlander's own efforts, the applied arts were given slightly more space in the Ateneum than the visual arts. For many years, the Ateneum in Helsinki was a leading centre of the visual and applied arts in Finland.