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29.07.2020

Bear on the Anthill, Helsinki

Although Jussi Mäntinen (1886-1978) studied drawing and woodworking, his appointment in 1910 as assistant professor at the Department of Zoology at the University of Helsinki was of far greater importance to his career as an artist. In 1919 he became a taxidermist in the department and remained in that position for the next 20 years. As a result, he achieved precision and liveliness in depicting animals that no one but the von Wright brothers could find. The bear, a totem animal from ancient Finland, is depicted tilted at the top of an anthill. The massiveness and stylized but realistic expression of the work hold the power over its surroundings. Mäntinen's work is a combination of anatomic precision and natural composition. The work conveys strength and self-esteem.

The sculpture is carved from red granite. The "Bear on the Ant-hill" was presented in Callio in 1931 and has dominated the karhupuisto (Bear Park) ever since. It is often in the spotlight during celebrations in the surroundings, such as Restaurant Day and the Kallio Block Party. The "Bear on the Ant-hill" belongs to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

 

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