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01.08.2020

Equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim, Helsinki

The bronze equestrian statue of Finnish Marshal Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim, authored by Aimo Tukiainen, stands in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. It was built in 1960.

The bronze statue is 5.4 m high. It is raised on a granite podium, 6.3 m high, 6.3 m long and 2.72 m wide. 

Mannerheim has been a symbolic figure in Finland since the Finnish Civil War of 1918, and his positions were strengthened in the 1930s and during the Second World War. The first plans and fundraising for the equestrian statue began already in 1937. After his death in 1951, the plans were renewed by the University of Helsinki Students' Union. During the fund-raising campaign 737 503 members of the public donated more than 78 million marks in 1952.  The funds were sufficient not only for the statue, but also for the purchase of the Louhisaari mansion in Askainen, Mannerheim's birthplace, which was turned into a museum.

The statue was ordered from Aimo Tukiainen after the contest. Tukiainen made a realistic and detailed statue of Mannerheim for riding. At its opening in 1960, the art world considered it obsolete. In his contemporary works, Tukiainen himself had already moved away from realism. 

The peculiarities of the horse, its gait and which of the horses of the marshal it actually represents were discussed a lot. Mannerheim has owned several horses in his life. Tukiainen studied Mannerheim Kathy's last horse when he was working on the statue, but this is not her portrait as such. 

Construction of Kiasma, Museum of Modern Art next to the monument was discussed during the construction of the museum. 

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