Simberg's art divided people, because there are some decadent aspects, or even touch of macabre, which was not wanted in the patriotic and romantic point of view. A huge problem was also, that some of Simberg's work did not go that well along with the traditional christian symbolism and way of depicting things.
For example The Garden of Death, which was painted for the cathedral of Tampere year 1896. As you can see, there is no traditional symbols of afterlife, the heaven or skyline. As a consent, there is a small path in the background, but the viewer can not see where it is leading. Therefore there is no christian salvation in the painting.
Simberg has many other fascinating artworks in which the skeletons dance and make people feel uncomfortable both in the painting and the viewers. I shall not talk about them, instead I am drawing the attention to another frequent motif in Simberg's work: the Poor Devil.
Simberg's devil is not a powerful and evil creature. He is more like a poor little wretch, trying to do his part as tempting people to sin, but failing. My personal favourite of Simberg's devil painitings is Piru ruusupensaassa (The Devil in a rosebush). It was painted 1907 and I believe it is at the moment in another famous Finnish artists atelier museum, at Ruovesi. It is the old atelier of Gallen-Kallela a painter who acted as a tutor for Simberg. At least I saw the poor devil in that building last summer.
In this painting I think the little poor devil is adorable, playing his little flute. But I'll leave further interpretation to you.