Aarre Aaltonen:
Ilmatar and the duck, 1939 (published 1946)
Sibelius Park, Taka-Töölö

Ilmatar and the duck

"Once upon a maid, the spirit girl, Luonnotar of fancy figure." Aarre Aaltonen’s Ilmatar and the duck is located in Sibelius park. In this strongly erotic sculpture the bird resembles a swan, rather than a duck bird. Aaltonen brings the ancient ”Leda and the swan”-motif into the realm of Kalevala imagery.

Ilmatar only appeared in Kalevala in 1849. It was in the first poem ”The Birth of the World” in so-called New Kalevala. Väinämöinen swims in the original sea until the end of 1835 in the Old Kalevala. The study does not conclusively explain why Lönnrot did change the ”Birth of the World” in Kalevala poems in such a radical way. The change may reflect many feminine world creation myths by many nations of that day.

Ilmatar has been of particular interest to male artists. In addition to Aaltonen’s ”Birth of the World” poem in Kalevala, the mythical female characters have also been painted or sculpted by RW Ekman, Gallen-Kallela, Joseph Alanen, Matti Visanti, Kari Juva and Heikki Virolainen.