Ateneum

Ateneum

For similarly named entities, see Athenaeum

The Ateneum is a major museum in Finland. It is located in the centre of Helsinki at the Rautatientori square opposite Helsinki Central Railway Station. It has the biggest collections of classical art in Finland. Previously the Ateneum building also housed the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and University of Art and Design Helsinki.

Architecture

The Ateneum building was designed by Theodor Höijer and it was completed in 1887.

The facade of Ateneum is decorated with statues and reliefs which contain a lot of symbols. Above the main entrance, in the second floor, are busts of three famous classical artists: architect Bramante, painter Raphael and sculpter Phidias. Above the busts, in the third floor, four caryatids support the pediment. These symbolize the four classical artforms: architecure, painting, sculpting, and music. The facade culminates in a collage of sculptures in which the Goddess of Art blesses the products of the different artforms. All the statues were by Carl Sjöstrand. In between the second floor windows are several reliefs by Ville Vallgren representing Finnish and international artists.

Below the pediment's collage is a phrase in Latin: Concordia res parvae crescunt, It is usually understood to refer to the long-lasting battle of the Finnish art circles in order to establish the museum.

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