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Johan Jakob Tikkanen

Born December 7, 1857, Helsinki. Died June 20, 1930, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1880, Licentiate 1884, Imperial Alexander University

Docent in aesthetics and art history 1884–7, Imperial Alexander University
Professor extraordinary 1897–1920 and professor ordinary 1920–26 of art history, Imperial Alexander University (University of Helsinki 1919–)
Acting professor of aesthetics and comparative literature 1901 and 1905 Imperial Alexander University (University of Helsinki 1919–)
Head of the sculpture collection of the University of Helsinki 1898–1926 and head of the Drawing School 1908–26
Secretary of the Finnish Art Society 1892–1920, chairman 1920–22
Vice chairman of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland 1922–24
Vice chairman of the Friends of Ateneum 1919–20
Chairman of the National Council for Visual Arts 1918–23

Awards and special achievements
Official representative of the University of Helsinki at the 800th anniversary celebrations of the University of Bologna, 1888
Member of the Finnish Society of Science and Letters 1911
Finnish Literature Society prize 1914
Member of the Comitato di Patrocinio of the international conference of art history in Rome 1918
Finnish Society of Science and Letters prize 1914

Photo: Taidehistorian kuvakeskus, Helsingin yliopisto

Written by Johanna Vakkari (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

More on Johan Jakob Tikkanen

Johanna Vakkari has written on several aspects of the life of Johan Jakob Tikkanen. These include his early years, his choice between art and art history, his career as a teacher of art history and an international researcher, and his archive. In these articles he is viewed in the context of the art and science of his time.

The Tikkanen archive is unique both in scale and variety. Tikkanen was artistically gifted, and he drew cartoons as often as he took down notes. No other art historian from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is survived by such a visually rich archive.

The archive is significant not only for historiographical reasons, but also because some of the mediaeval manuscripts that Tikkanen copied were later destroyed. The archive was long part of the library of art history at the University of Helsinki, but when the libraries of different disciplines were merged in the Kaisla building, the archive was moved to the National Library. The National Library already housed a large collection of international correspondence by Tikkanen, and the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland and the central archive of the Finnish National Gallery also have material related to the professor.

Selected Bibliography

  • Vakkari, Johanna 2003. Taiteilijaksi vai tiedemieheksi, J. J. Tikkasen vaellusvuodet. [Artist or scholar, J. J. Tikkanen's Wanderjähre.], in Volare Intohimona kuvataide, Taidehistoriallisia tutkimuksia / Studies in Art History, 26. Helsinki: Taidehistorian seura – Society of Art History in Finland, 258–283.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2007. Focus on Form, J. J. Tikkanen,Giotto and Art Research in the 19th Century. Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakauskirja, 114. Toim. Torsten Edgren. Helsinki: Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2007. J. J. Tikkanen and the Teaching of Art History. The Shaping of Art History in Finland. Studies in Art History, 36, ed. by Renja Suominen-Kokkonen. Helsinki: Taidehistorian seura – Society of Art History in Finland, 69–83.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2008. Adolfo Venturi, Johan Jakob Tikkanen e i paesi scandinavi. [Adolfo Venturi, Johan Jakob Tikkanen and the Nordic Countries.], in Adolfo Venturi e la storia dell’arte oggi. A cura di Mario D’Onofrio. Atti del convegno Internazionale di Studi, (Roma, 25.–28. Ottobre 2006). Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 179–186, pl XIV–XVI.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2009. Introduction: J. J. Tikkanen as a pioneer of Art History, in Towards a Science of Art History – J. J. Tikkanen and Art Historical Scholarship in Europe. The Acts of International Conference (Helsinki, December 7.–8. 2007). Studies in Art History, 38, ed. by Johanna Vakkari. Helsinki: Taidehistorian seura – Society of Art History in Finland, 9–17.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2012. J. J. Tikkanen’s filing cards on art history of expressions, gestures and movement, in Mosaico. Temi e metodi d’arte e critica per Gianni Carlo Sciolla. Ed. by Rosanna Cioffi and Ornella Scognamiglio. Torino: Luciano editore, 455–464.
  • Vakkari, Johanna 2013. “Without knowing everything, nothing is known definitely” – J. J. Tikkanen’s Archive as an Art-Historical Encyclopaedia, in The Challenges of Biographical Research in Art History Today. The Acts of International Conference (Helsinki, December 2011). Studies in Art History, 46, ed. by Renja Suominen-Kokkonen. Helsinki: Taidehistorian seura – Society for Art History in Finland, 75–96.
Johanna Vakkari's dissertation ”Focus on Form - J. J. Tikkanen, Giotto and Art Research in the 19th Century” (2007).


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