Squatting amidst the hustle and bustle of the waterfront eateries at Skeppsbrokajen, he watches what goes on, grinning. This is where the ferry to Djurgården departs, but steamboats and international shipping traffic stop here too.
The compact sculpture by well-known Swedish artist Carl Milles, made from red granite, is a little reminiscent of a Sumo wrestler or a sea monster. It’s probably meant to represent Triton, the Greek God of the Seas and son of Poseidon.
He can be identified by the trumpet snail in his left hand. When he blows the Triton harm, as it’s known, he can whip up the seas or calm them, just as he wishes. The resulting cacophony sounds so awful that even giants take flight.
Triton is often represented with a human torso and a fish-like lower part. Thus, in Mills’ artwork, his ample thighs are only sketched, ending in a fin.
The sculpture was made in 1913, during a phase when Milles was still heavily influenced by the monumental work of German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. Miller had lived in Munich for two years and got to know Hildebrand’s art philosophy there. Hildebrand was an advocate of a clear formal language dispensing with superfluous details.
Miller had wanted to design a further nine sculptures for the waterfront, but that plan didn’t materialize; Sjögudvn remained alone. This doesn’t seem to bother him, possibly because of the pretty mermaid snuggling up to his shoulders. She too is holding a shell in her hand; possibly we are looking at a nymph, a kind of assistant to the Gods.
The restaurant Zum Franziskaner is allegedly the oldest restaurant in town, having been founded by a Franciscan monk. The quality of food is debatable, but the beer and furnishings make a visit worthwhile.
Receive weekly travel news and special offers.