Information about the art collection 

The online gallery of the University of Turku art collection brings together selected works of art from the collection on display across the University’s campuses. The gallery has been compiled with the support of the Turku University Foundation. 

The University of Turku has a significant art collection that has been accumulated over more than a hundred years, partly through donations. On 28 February 2024, the day of the University’s Anniversary Celebration, the University published an online gallery presenting a selection of 70 works from the University’s art collection. In total, the University’s collection includes hundreds of artworks.    

The online gallery showcases the diversity of the University’s art collection through photographs, descriptive texts and archival material. In addition to the works of art owned by the University of Turku, the website presents works owned by the Finnish State Art Commission, the Student Union of the University of Turku, the City of Turku, and the Varsinaissuomalainen Student Nation of the University of Turku. The selected works of art depict the University’s over 100 years of history and the members of the University community.  

Professor of Art History Tutta Palin and Doctoral Researcher in Art History Emma Vuolaslempi from the University of Turku have written the descriptive texts. The website also features an article by Palin on the creation and history of the art collection. The University’s art collection began to grow in the early 1920s, not only with the support of the public and communities, but also with the support of artists.  

The descriptive texts of the artworks highlight historical periods and the artists, genres and styles of art, while taking into account recent research.  

“For the portraits, the aim was to include different groups of people and personnel whenever possible. The active role of women, both as artists and subjects, has also been highlighted. The donations related to the University’s founding years are highlighted as key historical pieces, without forgetting the most recent works of art on the campuses,” tell Palin and Vuolaslempi.  

Artworks are linked to the University’s history 

The online gallery has been funded by the Turku University Foundation. The artworks have also been inventoried and photographed during this process.  

“You can see some of the artworks when you visit the University’s facilities or campuses, but they contain a lot of valuable and interesting background information that has not been accessible until now. Most of the works also have a link to the history of the University. The University Foundation wanted to support the creation of an open online gallery to preserve and publish this cultural heritage, says Professor Emerita Riitta Pyykkö from the Turku University Foundation. 

The online gallery includes background information on the outdoor artworks and monuments located on the campus areas.  

“The outdoor artworks are easily accessible to anyone interested. For example, the sculpture Big Bang Echo by Marcus Copper and the statue Runeberg, Lönnrot, Snellman, also known as Kolme vekkulia (“The Three Rascals”), by Harry Kivijärvi on the University Hill or the sculpture Genius Guides Youth by Wäinö Aaltonen as part of the University Hill area designed by architect Aarne Ervi,” points out Anne-Katri Hatakka-Juntti, who manages the University’s art collection and coordinated the online gallery project. 

Working group for the online gallery of the University’s art collection 2023–2024: 

Representative of the funder: Professor Emerita Riitta Pyykkö, Turku University Foundation
Project coordination: Manager of the University’s art collection Anne-Katri Hatakka-Juntti 
Descriptive texts for artworks: Professor of Art History Tutta Palin and Doctoral Researcher Emma Vuolaslempi  
Photographs of artworks: Photographer Peter Sebastian, Archives of the University of Turku, Kuvasto 
Copyright mapping: Senior Planning Officer Totti Tuhkanen 
Website implementation: Planning Officer Ilmari Wärri, advertising agency KMG, University Communications 
Transport and preparation of artworks: Maintenance Services Officer Marko Santaoja