Sunday, September 3, 2023

Three Smiths

This is Three Smiths from 1932 by Nylund in Helsinki.



  1. A very powerful piece, this... Once again, it is on a "socialist" theme without being Socialist - if that makes any sense.

  2. Nylund had planned a similar statue about 10 years earlier, dedicated to a highly influential philosopher, professor and statesman in the 2nd half of the 1800s, Johan Vilhelm Snellman. Snellman worked for Finland's independence from Russia (focusing on a common language and currency, among other things). Nyland's 33-foot statue never materialized. But he used his original plans to sculpt "The Three Smiths". I am not aware that the current sculpture is dedicated to anyone in particular, but suggests the work and struggles of the Finnish people to forge their own identity. This sculpture was underfunded by a local businessman, Julius Tallberg, who is acknowledged in the Latin inscription around the base (not visible in this picture).

    Nylund used wrestlers from a nearby gym & sportsclub for the bodies displayed. The faces, however, were of other individuals. The face of the smith on the right with the raised hammer is that of Nylund himself -- the early 20th century version of photoshopping, I guess.

    1. Thanks for the interesting details, 2W! What you say makes a lot of sense if one knows something about Finnish history, and I do.

  3. Symbols of Finnish strength and willpower, sisu as the Finns say.
    Felix Nylund was not as prolific a sculptor as Waino Aaltonen, who received more commissions, most notably for Finland's Parliament/Eduskuntatalo and the Hameensilta bridge in Tampere. Nylund's son was the famous ceramicist Gunnar Nylund, the talent and the sisu were passed down :)