Church Painter Michael Toppelius (1734-1821)

Last Judgment in Haukipudas Church

Mikael Toppelius was from the Northeren Finland Toppila family, whose home was in Liminga. He was born in 1734 in Oulu, where his father Kristoffer acted as a customs writer and painter. On his mother's side she was from the priesthood of Lithovius family.

It is probable that Toppelius worked as his father's assistant in painting works and because of this ended up in this profession. In 1748 he painted the pictures of the Apostles and the Old Testament topics in the church of Iisalmi. After that, he was given work with influential friends, as a pupil of the leading Swedish decorator, Johan Pasch. He travelled to Stockholm in 1751 and stayed there for a year and a half. Toppelius started his prestigious career in Finland in the autumn of 1753 by doing professional painters' work in, for example, Kemi.

Mikael Toppelius married after he was 29 years old. His spouse was Maria Magdalena Ocklavitz, whose ancestors are known to have left Poland. There were 11 children born in the Toppelius marriage. Four daughters and three boys survived.

Toppelius decorated with his paintings a total of 40 churches, most of which are located in Ostrobothnia. In his final work, he decorated the Revonlahti Church in 1821.

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