Matti Virkkunen

Artist(s):Tapani Raittila Date:1969 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:100 x 82 cm

In April 1954, the University of Turku adopted a new ordinance and new Rules of Procedure. As a result, the University Board was disbanded and its duties were transferred to the Consistory and Committee. The newly elected Committee’s Chair was Matti Virkkunen (1908–1980), President of the commercial bank Kansallis-Osake-Pankki (KOP), who is also remembered as Urho Kekkonen’s opponent in the 1968 presidential election.

Virkkunen’s portrait was painted by artist Tapani Raittila (1921–2018). Raittila was one of the modernists of the 1950s and an esteemed portraitist; he painted, for instance, President Urho Kekkonen’s portrait in 1958. The artist gave up portrait commissions in the early 1980s but continued to paint portraits and self-portraits until the final years of his career. Raittila received the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1966 and the State Prize for Visual Arts in 1985. His retrospective exhibitions were held in Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1991 and in the Sara Hildén Art Museum in 2007. After the war, Raittila’s fellow students at the School of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland included Tuomas von Boehm (1916–2000), whose 1957 portrait of professor Eero Mustakallio (1907–2000) is also part of the University’s art collection.

Emma Vuolaslempi 2024

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Kivilahti, Marja-Terttu. “Tapani Raittila 1921–2018.” Helsingin Sanomat, 8 January 2018.

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Vares, Vesa. Turun yliopiston historia, 1. Kansallinen tehtävä 1920–1974. Turku: University of Turku, 2020.