Wäinö Aaltonen: The Lily of Turku
Turun Lilja (The Lily of Turku) by Wäinö Aaltonen (1894-1966) stands in Runeberg Park next to the Aura Bridge. It was the first outdoor sculpture acquired by the City of Turku. This modernist sculpture was Aaltonen’s third monument, and it was realised in granite in the stoneworks of J.E. Forsman in Helsinki. The sculpture was completed in 1924-1926 and unveiled in 1928.
The sculpture was originally named “The Lily of France”, but Aaltonen requested the name be changed. The new name and the lily (pictured in the Turku coat of arms) at the feet of the woman have made this sculpture a true symbol of Turku.
Turun Lilja has been a part of the spring celebrations in Turku since 1929. Every May Day Eve she is capped and then cleaned with a giant tooth brush by the dental students. These activities have been approved by the Museum Centre of Turku so as not to damage the sculpture.