Sibelius Monument in Helsinki

Sibelius Monument in Helsinki
Sibelius Monument in Helsinki

Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1967) is a benchmark of Finnish culture. A classical music composer who recreated numerous scores set in the landscapes and culture of this Scandinavian country. And even he composed pieces that have been linked to the most patriotic sentiments of this nation. So when he passed away in 1957, he had received many honors, including a park named after him in theTaka-Töölö districtof Helsinki, the capital Finnish


Sibelius Monument

But after his death it was decided to hold an artistic contest so that various creators could make their proposals and thus build a great memorial to the composer in that sameSibelius Park. After much deliberation and trouble, the winner of the commission turned out to be a woman, the Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen (1922 – 2003).

When the work was inaugurated in 1967, the result could not have been more controversial. Because of this forced union between the abstract and the figurative that it poses, since on one side there is a small bust of the musician, while the most emblematic part of the monument is the set of stainless steel tubes that create a shapeless body that weighs about 24 tons. In total there are more than 600 hollow cylindrical tubes, welded together to join in a bundle in which their heights and arrangement vary.

From the beginning those tubes wereidentified with those of an organ, however it was criticized because Sibelius had written very few works for such an instrument. There are also those who relate them to the thick Finnish forests that inspired the musician so much. Just as many musical passages were inspired by the beautiful ice crystals of the Nordic landscape and that we can also relate to that tubular mass. And there are even those who see echoes of the effects of the famous northern lights that are seen beyond the Arctic Circle.

The fact is that the interpretations are various, and the author herself never explained the reason for those forms. She just provided a title:Passion for Music. So perhaps her goal was precisely that, that like music, her sculpture will also inspire everyone with sensations, memories or ideas. To which she also helps that it is a work that can be touched, even transited, since you can pass under the tubes and have a most suggestive perspective of the whole.

The fact is that the controversy and criticism of the work lasted for a while, and even today it is said that it is too hidden in a green area as large as Sibelius Park. However, it is undeniable that it has become one of the most emblematic images of Helsinki, so the purpose of paying homage to Sibelius is more than achieved. And not only here, since a scale replica of the same monument can also be seen at the Paris headquarters of the UNESCO.

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