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Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, Turku

Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova - Museum of History and Modern Art, opened in 1995 in the center of Turku , Itäinen rantakatu 4-6. The Latin name of the museum means "Old Turku and New Art", which refers to the dissertation of Daniel Juslenius, published in 1700, "Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova". The museum is one of the three Turku art museums.  It belongs to the Matti Coyvurinna Foundation.

The museum is divided into two parts: the underground Aboa Vetus represents medieval Turku through the ruins of stone houses and archaeological finds found in the area .  The Ars Nova side, on the other hand, presents contemporary art through the collection of works of art of the Foundation and changing exhibitions.

The museum is located in a building designed by Walter Jung, known as the Rettig Palace, on the east bank of the Aura River. Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova is one of the most popular attractions in Southwest Finland. The Turku Biennale is held every two years in the museum. In 2006 the museum was awarded by the association "Threshold" .  Kynnys ry justified the award by the fact that Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova has succeeded in accounting for different groups of museum users and in ensuring accessibility and accessibility.

Aboa Vetus

The underground covered side of the museum Aboa Vetus presents the history of Turku from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The museum includes the ruins of six medieval stone buildings, the oldest of which date back to the end of the 14th century. The oldest found wooden buildings date from the end of the 13th century. Some of the surviving cellars were used to build the Rettig Palace until 1928. The museum is located in the Monastery Quarter, which is one of the four medieval quarters of Turku. Yokikatu Monastery, which was one of the main streets of medieval Turku, passes through the museum area. The street got its name from the Dominican Convention of St. Olaf in Kaskenmäki .

Little is known about the medieval owners of stone houses in the museum. The earliest mention refers to Elias Esping, pastor of Parainen, who owned the so-called large stone house, which belonged to the house in the late 16th century.  Presumably, however, the houses were owned by the German and Swedish bourgeoisie. It is assumed that at least two Turku workshops, St. Nicholas " Guild and St. Three Kings " Guild, were located in the monastery quarter. It is possible that at least one of them was on museum premises. In addition, it is known that in the Monastery Quarter are located the pre-branches of the church., The side cellars of Aboa Vetus on North Main Street after the Middle Ages belonged, in particular, to G.A. Petrelius, who founded a plough bathhouse, which operated from 1874 to 1907. The baths were sold to the Rettig tobacco factory, which operated the building until its dissolution in 1928.

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, Turku

Archaeological research

On the territory of the museum in 1992-1995. Archaeological excavations were carried out on the museum's territory in 1992-1993. They were under the jurisdiction of the Turku Provincial Museum, and in 1994-1995 they were conducted. - Archaeological excavations were carried out on the territory of the Museum in 1992-1993, which were under the jurisdiction of the Turku Provincial Museum, and in 1994-1995, the National Office of Antiquities. The structures that arose at that time remained visible as such, with all their time layers. In total, the Aboa Vetus Museum covers an area of 1200 square meters. However, archaeological finds were made in the area known as the site of the Rettig Palace back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Prior to the construction of Juhani Palace, Rinné conducted excavations in 1927. Also Niilo Valozenkanaliza trench, documented in 1952-1953, limited the medieval layers of the site.

Problems with excavations in the 1990s were caused, among other things, by the busy schedule and the fact that the area under study was to become an active museum zone. For this reason, the excavation technique was considered simple and, for example, different layers of backfill in cellars were not documented separately. However, the excavation of Aboa Vetus was the first large-scale urban excavation in Finland, where general survey was carried out directly in digital form using a total station. At the end of the excavations in 1995, there are still parts of the museum that have not been excavated. The preservation of stone houses also led to the ancient history of the area under their walls and floors. An attempt was made to remedy this by resuming archaeological excavations in 2005, during which several excavations were carried out deeper than the floor surface left behind by excavations in the 1990s. 

Archaeological excavations of the museum continued in the 21st century, and from 2017 excavations expanded from the museum space to the courtyard of the Rettig site, where two stone houses were excavated, which were destroyed during the 1827 Turku fire. Excavations were mainly carried out during the museum excavations, and Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova organized excavation courses for both children and adults.

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, Turku

Medieval stone buildings 

Excavations were concentrated in medieval cellars of the area. The oldest of them are dendrochronologically dated to the 1390s, while the rest were built in the 15th century.  In the Aboa Vetus area are the ruins of six medieval stone houses. The construction of stone brick houses is connected with the general transformation of the town from wooden buildings into a stone fund in the late 14th - early 15th centuries. Archaeological findings suggest that the territory of Aboa Vetus can be conventionally divided into three different periods of use: from the 13th century to the end of the 14th century, to the period of use of wooden buildings, and then the medieval stone houses ending in the 17th century. In the youngest period, the biggest change was the fire of Turku in 1827, after which the 17th century square became an inner courtyard.

The stone houses on the grounds of the museum were destroyed at various times: some in the 17th century, some in connection with the construction of the Rettig Palace in 1928, and some only in the 1990s during the unexplored demolition work associated with the establishment of the museum. The preservation of these various changes in the museum at that time, as well as the conservation and preservation of the building remains, create permanent problems for the museum. Changes in ground water, frost, rainwater volume and soil movement, among others, affect the structures. Geology is also involved in the movement of the Earth. and the contradiction between archaeology: according to the geological interpretation, the sea level in Turku in the Middle Ages was at 3.5-5 m/g while the lowest parts of the stonework of Aboa Vetus' stone houses are at 2 m/g and the log lattices are even deeper. Either the heavy buildings have collapsed over time, or the chronology of the Turku coast crossing needs to be revised.

During excavations in the 1990s, a large number of artifacts were found: almost 40,000 without bones in total. Of these, 30% come from basement backfilling. About 800 kg of pet bones were found in the museum. The artifacts represent urban culture from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The finds include medieval leather objects such as shoes and scabbard, glass and ceramic dishes, oven tiles and various metal objects such as knives and nails. On the other hand, rare finds include, for example, a medieval gold ring.

In the monastery quarter there is a tenacious story about the medieval monastery of St. Anne in the area, which would be just a stone's throw from the Dominican Convention monastery of St. Olaf in Kaskenmäki. However, archaeological finds do not confirm the existence of the monastery. The monastery on the site of the current museum Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova in the region mentioned in his novel "Dream" already in 1861, spent his childhood in the Monastery Quarter of Fredrik Runeberg . The legend of the connection between the cellars of the Rettig Palace and the convent was supported in 1905, when the janitor of the Aura Spa stated that he had found the skeletons of two women in one of the spa cellars. However, the fate of the victims is unknown: according to Jenny Maria Tallgren, "everything was destroyed - without calling an expert on the scene. 

Located in one of the museum's medieval cellars, the ecumenical chapel, opened in 2001, was chosen by the patron saint of St. Anne to commemorate the history of the area. 

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, Turku

Ars Nova

Museum of Modern Art, Ars Nova, is divided into two floors. Four different changing exhibitions are held on the ground floor every year, and on the top there are two changing collections from the Matti Coyvurinna Foundation's collection. The exhibition space on the ground floor consists of rooms of different sizes with very few traces of Rettigian use. On the second floor of the museum, on the other hand, elements of the original interior have been preserved: a corridor covered with wooden panels and a bathroom lined with green marble remind us of the past inhabitants of the palace. The second floor of the Ars Nova Hotel also offers views of the French garden of the palace. During the Rettiga period, the ground floor served as a cellar and the first floor as bedrooms.

2011 In connection with Ars Nova, the space of the Takkahuone Gallery was opened with small exhibition projects. The Matti Koivurinna Foundation has an artists' residence, from which one artist is invited every year to hold an exhibition in the Fireplace Hall. The first exhibition of the artist will be held in 2013.

The collection of works of art of the Matti Coyvurinna Foundation consists of more than six hundred works.  The collection includes Finnish and Western works of art from the end of the 19th century, but the focus is on post-mid-1950s art and contemporary art. The collection, based on the art collection of Commercial Counselor Matti Koyvurinna, is regularly enriched with works of art. The collection includes works by Picasso, Max Ernst, Auguste Erben, Andre Masson, Andy Warhol and David Hockney as well as others. Finnish stars include Otto Myakilä and Lars-Gunnar Nordström, Matti Kujasalo, Veikko Hirvimäki and Jan-Erik Andersson.

On the facade of the museum there are also two public works from the collection of the fund: Elephant Square - Elephant Square, designed by Hannah Vihriel and Fredrika Runeberg, and the Jan-Erik Andersson point on the wall of the museum near the birthplace of Fredrika Runeberg. 

Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova, Turku