Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Jean Sibelius Monument (Helsinki, Finland)

Walking towards Helsinki’s exceptional Temppeliaukio Cathedral, built underground hewn from solid granite, is a striking monument to Finland’s finest composer, Jean Sibelius. Built from more than 600 steel pipes in the form of organ pipes, reactions vary from praise to disappointment at the modern surrealist memorial.

Personally, I loved the monument, glittering in the warming rays of the Helsinki sun, the trees of the surrounding park reflected off the various lengths of silvery pipe. The organ pipes gave a sense of his prodigious musical achievements with a striking and memorable sculpture. Artistic travellers stooped, laid down and leaned to get their perfect angle to photograph this unusual monument.

Next to the organ pipes is the silvery moon-shaped head of Sibelius set on stone with two artistic blobs of quicksilver. While glistening in the sunshine and despite Sibelius’ striking visage, I found the head somewhat tasteless.

Also worth a brief stroll is the neighbouring cemetery. Packed with presidents, prime ministers, military, artists, actors, sportsmen, authors and other significant Finns, the graves nestle peacefully in a tranquil tree-filled peninsula. Armies of tiny squirrels disrespectfully dance across the graves chasing morsels of food fallen from the overhanging trees. Somewhat surprisingly, Jean Sibelius doesn’t feature among the numerous tombs.

While the Finnish suburb of Töölö would be unlikely to attract many visitors without the remarkable travel wonder of its modern cathedral, it warrants a brief stroll to enjoy the restful parklands of the area and to enjoy the sparkling silvery monument to Finland’s most famous composer. Do you like either or both of the sculptures?


Seminyak hotels said...

nice post
i like it

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

The first sculpture is amazing! But I agree about the head--have you figured out what rationale there is for chopping off his head??

Globe Nomads said...

I like the first sculpture but the second did not do much for me. The first one looks impressive indeed while the second is probably just to let people know what Sibelius look like.

Heather on her travels said...

I enjoy sculptures and artwork that are relevant to their setting & these silvery pipes do fit in well although if I saw them in anothe rplace I might not be so keen

Anonymous said...

great sculptures! they're absolutely amazing. i guess a lot of tourist wants to see this in person. but if you want to visit an asian country i suggest you to try this one

Mark H said...

@seminyak hotels: Thank you

@vera: I couldn't agree more.

@globe nomads: The second one is a strange addition.

@heather: I really like the pipes though I guess the context is important too.

Sherry Ott said...

Love the organ pipe sculpture - really gorgeous!

Barbara Weibel said...

I also find the pipe organ to be very attractive but the head is just plain spooky.

David said...

My artistic interpretation of the monument is called Abstraction. I took the shot the last week of July 2010.

Mark H said...

@sherry: The general view seems to strongly like the organ pipes but not so many are keen on the head.

@barbara: I agree.

@david: Stellar photograph and unusual view of this monument. I suggest people check it out.

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