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Johannes Haapasalo and C.E. Sjöstrand: Three Geni, 1914. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum

Three Geni

Artist Johannes Haapasalo, C.E. Sjöstrand

, Helsinki

The National Archives were designed by Gustaf Nyström and completed in 1889. Above the cornice of the building’s classical façade is a low wall or story – known in classical architecture as the attic. The sculptures on the attic were originally created by C.E. Sjöstrand. And, although the present group of sculptures are copies made by the artist Johannes Haapasalo – they were nevertheless made from C.E. Sjöstrand’s original maquettes.

The three figures on the attic symbolize the purpose of the building and the archives. The central, standing figure personifies Finland. Finland offers the fruits of research to the Goddess of the Study of History whose left arm is raised to accept them. On Finland’s left sits the Goddess of Written History who is immersed in research, bending over her books.

The symbolic group of sculptures was completed in 1889 as the spirit of Finnish nationalism was on the rise. The purpose of The National Archives and the group’s symbolism was very significant to the Finnish people who, at the time, had begun to investigate the essence of Finnishness and their Finnish roots.

The sculptures don’t belong to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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