Ateneum is an art museum located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The museum, located in the heart of the city centre, is part of the Finnish National Gallery. It houses some of the largest collections of classical Finnish art.
If you are travelling to Finland, and more specifically to Helsinki, the Ateneum art museum is one of the places you cannot miss. In this article, we will tell you all the details you should know before your visit and what you will find inside.
History of the Ateneum Museum in Helsinki
The architect Theodor Höijer was in charge of designing the neo-Renaissance style building that houses the museum. Its construction was completed in 1887 and a year later, in October 1888, the museum was inaugurated.
Many of the collections inside date from before the museum opened, as the Finnish Art Society was responsible for teaching, promoting and supporting Finnish art from 1846, the year the organisation was founded.
The façade of the building features sculptures that attempt to visually narrate the relationship between the visual and applied arts, as well as the connection between Finnish art and more traditional European art.
The building’s construction project is based on Carl Gustaf Estlander’s idea of creating a single place where the visual and applied arts are united and exhibited together. Thus, since its opening, the Ateneum Museum has housed collections of works belonging to the Finnish Art Society’s school of drawing and the Finnish Society’s school of crafts and design.
The building was not only used as a museum but also served as a school where many of Finland’s leading artists and designers studied. In 1991, however, the decision was taken to use the building only as a museum.
Today, the Ateneum is one of the most internationally recognised art museums and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Together with the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the Sinebrychoff Museum of Art, the Ateneum Museum forms the Finnish National Gallery.
Ateneum Museum Collections
The Ateneum Art Museum houses more than 20,000 works of art, the largest art collection in Finland. It has all kinds of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints by numerous artists from the 18th to the 20th century.
The museum’s collections present the development of Finnish art, from the rococo portraits of the 18th century to the works of the experimental art movements of the 20th century. In addition, the Ateneum’s collection includes more than 650 works by great international artists, such as Le Corbusier and Vincent van Gogh.
The works in the museum show the influences of different schools and movements. Thus, it is possible to find portraits from the Romantic period, landscapes from the Düsseldorf School, works of 19th century Parisian influence, paintings from the golden age of Finnish art and works belonging to surrealism, impressionism and Finnish expressionism.
These collections, belonging to the Finnish National Gallery, can be visited on the first and first floors of the museum. The third floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions.
Today, the museum’s extensive collection is of great importance for the study of Finnish art and its evolution throughout history.
Thanks to an agreement between the Ateneum Museum and Google, it is possible to view online and in full some of the works on display in the museum. To see them, just click here.
Museum opening hours and entrance fees
If you are travelling to Helsinki, we recommend a stop at the Ateneum Museum to find out more about Finnish art and its history. Here are the opening hours to help you organise your visit.
As for the price, general admission costs 18 euros. The entrance fee for students, pensioners, unemployed and army personnel is 16 euros. Children under the age of 18 can enter the museum completely free of charge.
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