Mannerhiem

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Sculptures of Helsinki #18

Mannerhiem, or by his full name Baron Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim (1867-1951), is known to be one of the most influential figures of the 20th century in Finland. He started his military career in the Russian Army, during the years when Finland was an autonomous part of Russia. Finland declared its independence in 1917 but shortly after a civil war broke out between the reds and the whites, Mannerhiem was appointed military chief of the whites.

During World War II Mannerhiem was appointed the commander in chief of the Finnish armed forces and led them to victory against the Soviet Union. Once World War II was concluded Mannerhiem was elected president and served for two years. He died shortly after in 1951.

His statue of him riding a horse on Mannerhiemtie was unveiled in 1960 after public donations were raised. Including the pedestal the statue is 11.7 meters tall and can be seen easily from the first floor of the Kiasma museum it stands out the front of. This isn’t the only memorial to Mannerhiem in the city, there is also the house where he lived which has been preserved and turned into a museum, as well as his grave in Hietaniemi Cemetery.

Looking for a new angle to photograph the statue I went inside Kiasma Museum. Photographing the statue from inside would allow me to include the work of Mona Hatoum’s which is currently in the museum. Her work often features maps and globes, below is a great example of a world map made from hundreds of marbles slightly modified to fit the space. Another of my favorites is a globe with the continents outline in red lights called Hot Spot.

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You can find almost 500 outdoor sculptures, pieces of environmental art and historical monuments in Helsinki and they are accessible to everyone. See more and search through the database at HAMhelsinki.fi.

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