ArtWay

Art cannot be used to show the validity of Christianity; it should rather be the reverse. Hans Rookmaaker

Travel Tips

Finland

Finland

From south to north
 
Helsinki:                                                                                                                                               
- Temppeliaukio Church (‘The Rock Church’) in Helsinki (Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, 1969), a cave church hewn into a rocky outcrop, emphasizes the eternal nature of stone and thus symbolizes the permanence of the values of the Church in the midst of the temporal and the volatile. The inner silence of stone is to be found in this church amid the hustle and bustle of the capital. The roughly hewn stone wall and the copper ceiling make up a powerful visual installation in themselves.                                                                                                                        
- Kontula Church (1987) was built next door to a kindergarten by a busy pedestrian route. The church’s open architecture invites the passer-by into the parish premises that can be entered from a long corridor. This passageway leads on to the altar of the wide nave, and indeed continues in Hannu Väisänen’s altarpiece with the empty grave of Easter morning at its centre. Kontula Church represents postmodernism at its purest, with different layers of the Church’s history melting together: the shapes of Jewish tombstones, high and narrow Gothic windows, horizontal stripes in the manner of Siena Cathedral in the church wall, a mallow glow in the mortar of the inner walls as in Matisse’s Vence chapel, a medieval Gotland limestone altar, and a bronze angel by Kari Juva, perched on the ridge of the roof with a cross in hand.
- Kamppi Chapel, Simonkatu 7 Helsinki. The Chapel was designed by architects Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen of K2S Architects Ltd. The Chapel is an example of innovative wood architecture. It was granted the International Architecture Award 2010 by The Chicago Athenaeum. The Chapel is intended to be a place where people can have a moment of silence and can meet each other. Regular moments of prayer are held at the Chapel. Open: Monday to Friday 8am–8pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am–6pm. http://www.helsinginkirkot.fi/en/churches/kamppi-chapel-of-silence
- Museum for Finnish Architecture, Kasarmikatu 24. www.mfa.fi/frontpage
 
Espoo:                                                                                                                                                    
- Oili Mäki Museum Gallery, Äyräpääntie 14, Laajalahti, FI-02140 Espoo. Oili Mäki's museum foundation. The museum exhibits Oili Mäki's works from her 30-year career as an artist: tapestries, altarpieces, paintings and rya rugs. The museum has one of the most extensive collections of Christian art in Finland.      
- The Gallen-Kallela Museum, Tarvaspää, Gallen-Kallelan tie 27, FI-02600 Espoo. The Finnish national artist's castle-like atelier home, built 1911-13 in the Art Nouveau style and still in its original attire. Changing 2 to 3 times a year, exhibitions with varying themes offer fresh combinations of the works of Gallen-Kallela and his contemporaries, modern art and photography. Café Tarvaspää. From September – May closed on Mondays. Rest of the year open all days. www.gallen-kallela.fi  
- In Otaniemi chapel in Espoo (Kaija and Heikki Siren, 1957) the altar wall opens out into the exterior space, thus making the surrounding landscape and the changing seasons part of the worshipping space.     
- Tapiola Church (Aarno Ruusuvuori, 1965) is an unadorned concrete structure representing brutalism at its barest. The interior wall hides a functional parish hall behind it. A windowed back wall is the source of natural light for the church space. The deep grey of the concrete emphasized the bright colours of the church textiles.                                                                           
- Olari Church (1981) (Simo and Käpy Paavilainen) is protected from a nearby highway and service station: a high brick wall keeps out the noise of traffic and everyday life.
 
Viikin:
- Viikin kirkko. This wooden church is quite new and planned by Samuli Miettinen.
 
Vanda:
- Vantaa Pyhän Laurin kappeli, chapel of St. Lawrence. The chapel is new (2010) and placed beside the medieval church. 
 
Vantaa:                                                                                                                                                 
- Hämeenkylä Church in Vantaa (1989–92) was conceived as a pictorial church. Martti Aiha and Silja Rantanen collaborated to create the various stages of the Way of the Cross. Silja Rantanen uses strong colours to bring out the background to the events, in a manner reminiscent of the depiction of Christ’s passion by Fra Angelico at the convent of San Marco.
 
Turku:                                                                                                                                               
- Turku Cathedral is the only Finnish medieval cathedral, built in the thirteenth century.
- Erik Bryggman’s Chapel of the Resurrection (1941) in Turku respects the shapes of the surrounding landscape and melts harmoniously into its natural setting.
 
Lahti:                                                                                                                                                  
- The Church of the Cross in Lahti (Alvar Aalto, 1978) is not only a bright and clearly structured church, but also a well-functioning concert space and conference centre. Aalto defined the church as Gethsemane, a garden of peace at the city centre.
 
Lappeenranta:                                                                                                                                      
- In Sammonlahti Church at Lappeenranta (Riitta and Kari Ojala, 1993), the altar sculpture by Brita Flander, Living Water, consists of clear glass and flowing water inviting the worshippers for nourishment at the altar. The Estonian artist Rait Prääts created the four stained-glass windows, making ingenious use of the essence of glass on the one hand, and various cutting and corroding techniques on the other.
 
Valamo:                                                                                                                                                     
- orthodox monastery, where visitors can stay and attend services. http://www.valamo.fi/en/
 
Imatra:                                                                                                                                                        
- In Tainionkoski church at Imatra (Yrjö Vaskinen, 1932) a temporary crucifix was initially placed on the altar. It was only in 1997 that Kristiina Uusitalo created an altar painting with the theme ‘Now we look as if in a mirror’. The painting depicts rippling water and bears a gold-tinted labyrinth on the surface as a symbol of eternity.   
- In Vuoksenniska Church at Imatra (Alvar Aalto, 1958) light and shade celebrate in a timeless whiteness. There are three crosses at the altar instead of a painting. The church space contracts and expands like a sculpture that can be entered. Of the 103 windows, only two are identical in shape. The windows and the lights are high up. Aalto himself designed the only element of colour in the church, a stained-glass painting near the level of the ceiling. The belfry with its smooth contours depicts an arrow shot downwards into the ground. Traditional belfries reach up towards heaven, but Aalto has designed a belfry in which God comes down to the people.
 
Hattula:                                                                                                                                                   
- Church of the Holy Cross in Hattula was built of brick in the fourteenth century, apparently as a joint venture between - The experts from the Baltic region and local artisans. Many original murals have been preserved in this church, as well as over thirty carved statues of saints. The churchyard also has its traditional stone fence and gateway structure still intact.
 
Sastamala:
- St Olaf’s Church, Kallialan kirkkotie 50, Sastamala is a late medieval stone church that was recently rebuilt after a fire in 1997. The church stands in a beautiful surrounding of Lake Rautavesi in the middle of the Finnish countryside. The artists involved, Osmo Rauhala and Kuutti Lavonen, are prominent contemporary Christian artists in Finland. Open 1st of May – 31st of August and in September only on Sundays. Sunday – Friday 11 am – 5 pm. Saturdays closed. Church reserved for religious services. Closed during the winter season. www.pyhaolavi.fi/english.shtml
 
Tampere:                                                                                                                                               
- The facades of Tampere Cathedral (Lars Sonck, 1902 – 07) are of coarse-grained grey granite. In accordance with the ideals of national romanticism, the church was constructed as a unified work of art: all details of the architecture, painting, stained glass, and decor complement one another. A stone wall with a gatehouse surrounds the church and forms part of the architectural exterior. Frescoes by Hugo Simberg, painted between 1905 and 1906, among them The Wounded Angel.                                                   
- Kaleva Church (Raili and Reima Pietilä, 1966) is a brightly lit space reaching upwards in the manner of a traditional Gothic cathedral; it is bordered by concrete gutters of varying design. Reima Pietilä’s semi-abstract, sculpture-like tree of life is the only visual detail apart from the paraments.
 
Jyväskylä:
- Kuokkala church, a new church, interesting in architectural style.
 
Petäjävesi:                                                                                                                                              
- The old church in Petäjävesi (Jaakko Leppänen, 1764) is a cruciform church with arms of equal length and a steeply rising pitched shingle roof. The unpainted nave is covered by barrel vaults, which join in the middle to form a cupola. The western arm is linked by a passageway to a Renaissance belfry of traditional Ostrobothnian construction. The church has retained its original features and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 
Hämeenlinna:                                                                                                                                       
- Hämeenlinna Church (L. J. Desprez, 1798) was built as a rotunda modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. The altar stood in the middle of the amphitheatre-shaped church, and the pulpit was above the sacristy door. For the church’s centenary, cross arms were added. A new bicentennial feature are the linen wall curtains designed by Irma Kukkasjärvi.
 
Orivesi:                                                                                                                                                 
- Orivesi Church, by K. & H. Siren (1961), has its altar on the long wall of the nave. The nave itself, with its five arched support walls, gives the impression of gathering the worshippers in its lap in front of the altar. Kain Tapper’s semi-abstract wooden altar relief, The Rock of Golgotha, was initially met with some bewilderment by the parishioners, but has since come to be regarded as one of the most powerful altarpieces created by modern artists.
 
Joensuu:
- Kain Tapper made the fountain sculpture of the Rantakylä Church in 1987.      
 
Vaasa:                                                                                                                                                       
- The red-brick church in Vaasa (C. A. Setterberg, 1869) is an example of English-style neo-Gothic architecture. The church has three altarpieces: The Institution of the Eucharist by R. W. Ekman (1861), The Adoration of the Angels by Albert Edelfelt (1894), and The Deposition of Christ by Louis Sparre (1897).
 
Kuopio:                                                                                                                                                   
- Männistö Church in Kuopio (Juha Leiviskä, 1992) is a terrace church located in a suburban development with prefabricated housing blocks. The reflections of light by Markku Pääkkönen on the altar wall are like fragments of a rainbow. A series of forty-five watercolours has been painted by Mirja Airas to honour Paavo Ruotsalainen: placed along the aisles, they illustrate the message conveyed by this Pietist preacher in his sermons. The silverware for the Eucharist also rehearses the architectural motifs.
 
Oulu:                                                                                                                                                       
- At St Thomas’s Church in Oulu (1975), Hannu Väisänen has created a complete pictorial sequence. The altarpiece, painted in tempera colours, represents the vine of life as a symbol of unity. The works in the aisles and in the parish hall pursue the same theme, as do the church textiles.
 
Tornio:                                                                                                                                                 
- The rectangular sanctuary ceiling in the church of Tornio (built by Matti Härmä from 1684 to 1686, with the bell tower constructed in 1687) is made up of four wooden domes, two of which are exuberantly painted. The pulpit was carved by local carpenter Nils Fluur after a baroque model.
 
Rovaniemi:                                                                                                                                           
- The altar wall of Rovaniemi Church (B. Liljeqvist, 1950) is covered by a fresco (1920) by Lennart Segerstråle, in which Christ is depicted on the crest of the local Ounasvaara fell. Christ is reflected in a water-spring from which the local people derive strength for the challenges of everyday life.