Walter Runeberg

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Walter Runeberg
O. J. Aune - Walter Runeberg (crop).jpg
Portrait photograph of Walter Runeberg, 1870–1875
Walter Magnus Runeberg

(1838-12-29)29 December 1838
Died23 December 1920(1920-12-23) (aged 81)
Helsinki, Finland
Known forSculpture
Lina Elfving
(m. 1867; died 1916)

Walter Magnus Runeberg (29 December 1838 – 23 December 1920) was a Finnish neo-classical sculptor.[1] He was the son of Finnish national poet J. L. Runeberg.[2]


Runeberg was born in Porvoo as the eldest son of J. L. Runeberg and his wife, Fredrika Tengström. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, and with sculptor Carl Eneas Sjöstrand.[1] From 1858 through 1869 he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen under Herman Wilhelm Bissen, acquiring a clear influence from the neoclassical style of Bissen's master Bertel Thorvaldsen.[1] He married Lina Elfving (1841–1916) in 1867. They had six children.[1]

With his wife Lina in Rome, 1868
Portrait by Gunnar Berndtson, 1879

After periods living and working in Rome and Paris,[1][3] Runeberg produced many of Helsinki's best-known examples of monumental public art. The largest is the Alexander II Monument in Senate Square, a commission awarded jointly to Runeberg and sculptor Johannes Takanen, then completed by Runeberg after Takanen's death in 1885.[4] The pedestal features several allegorical figures. Notably, the figure representing Law is a version of the Suomi-neito, the Finnish maiden, here cloaked in bearskin.[5]

Runeberg in his studio, 1910s

He is buried in the Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki.[6]

Runeberg family grave, Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki


Statue of Alexander II[edit]

Other notable works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lindgren, Liisa (9 October 2006). "Runeberg, Walter (1838 - 1920)". Kansallisbiografia. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Walter Runeberg". Porvoo. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Undressing the maid: gender, sexuality, and the body in the construction of the Finnish nation, Johanna Valenius, 2004, page 20
  6. ^ "Hietaniemen hautausmaa – merkittäviä vainajia" (PDF). Helsingin seurakuntayhtymä. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  7. ^ "ohan Ludvig Runebergin muistomerkki/ Johan Ludvig Runeberg's memorial". HAM Helsinki. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Kleobis ja Biton / Cleobis and Biton". HAM Helsinki. Retrieved 23 June 2020.