Finnish composer Jean Sibelius once said, “Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” Bringing this adage to fruition is the Sibelius Monument in Helsinki.
Erected in 1967 by Finnish sculptor Eila Hiltunen, the abstract monument resembles a sound wave made from clusters of organ pipes. It consists of over 600 steel pipes unevenly grouped together at various heights, with the highest pipe reaching over 27 feet in the air.
The landmark was designed to embody the spirit of Sibelius’ music, but its abstract nature caused many critics of the statue to remark that it did not directly honor the composer. To this end, a large bust of Sibelius was added at the foot of the monument so that viewers won’t be confused.
A smaller version of the Sibelius Monument is located at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, but the majesty of the full-size statue is a much more fitting homage to the bombastic artist.