The kolme seppä (the three smiths) must be one of the best recognized sculptures in Helsinki – one could argue about whether it is beautiful or not, but I really enjoy the energy of it. When we first arrived in Helsinki it was one of the most recognizable landmarks to guide us through the city (especially when everything else was under snow!).
The statue is located between the famous Stockmann department store (we blogged about their book store previously here) and the “Vanha” (the University of Helsinki Student Union office) at the intersection of Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie (map here) – really right in the middle of the city.
The piece was created by Felix Nylund who, according to some, was representing the creation of the first words. Suitably, his master smith’s face (anybody know which of the three that is?) was modelled on that of the Finnish writer Arvid Mörne, while the second and third figures are supposedly a self-portrait of Nyland and a representation of one of his assistants. Nyland apparently said that the piece is a representation of cooperation between people. The statue has commissioned by the Pro Helsingfors Foundation, which was founded by the iron merchant Julius Tallberg – so I’d guess that’s also influential in Nyland’s design! According to Wikipedia Tallberg was fired from Stockmann as a young man – I wonder if that’s got anything to do with the position of the sculpture opposite Stockmann’s main entrance?
You can read more about the piece’s origin and history here and here. One thing that was interesting to read is that the sculpture still bears bomb damage sustained during the 1944 Continuation war – so next time I pass by I’ll be looking for the hole in the anvil.