Jussi Mantynen1886 - 1978
Born: May 6, 1886
Jussi Mantynen was born in Helsinki, Finland on May 6, 1886. Growing up, he loved to hunt and spend time outdoors although as an adult he was firmly against hunting. Mantynen spent a brief period of his youth as a sailor and used the money he earned to pay for school. He studied at Ateneum art school and learned sculpture from Alpo Sailo and painting from Akseli Gallen-Kallela. He later enrolled at the academy of art in Florence. Mantynen studied animals as both an artist and scientist. He worked as a taxidermist's assistant and as a taxidermist at Helsinki University Zoological Museum. In addition to his own work as a taxidermist, Mantynen studied animals by observing them in menageries, zoological collections and art museums. It was in art museums that Mantynen became particularly entranced with Assyrian and Egyptian representations of animals. Although he was well known in the science community due to his work, he also had success as an artist. The National Museum in Stockholm purchased a group of his granite bears, the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan obtained two monumental lynx sculptures made from diorite, Brussels and Paris awarded him the Grand Prix, and his first one man show was held in Stockholm in 1934 with another one man show in London in 1939. Mantynen decided to devote his full time to sculpture following the success of his London exhibit. Mantynen was an artist who went from a natural to a more abstract representation of animals. His favorite subject matters were the elk, bear, lynx, fox, swan and crane in all their moods and physical expressions.