Vigeland Sculpture Park

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Perhaps Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo is the most outstanding tourist attraction in Norway. It contains 212 sculptures in bronze and granite and several wrought iron gates. Gustav Vigeland, Norway’s best known sculptor, modeled all the sculptures and designed the layout of the park itself. He worked on the park more than two decades until his death in 1943.

Vigeland Sculpture Park is a part of Frogner Park, located 3 km northwest of the centre of Oslo. The park’s sculptures are placed on an 850 meters long axis divided into 6 sections: The Main Gate, The Bridge, The Children’s Playground, The Fountain, The Monolith Plateau and the Wheel of Life.

The Main Gate, forged of granite and wrought iron and erected in 1926, serves as an entrance to the park itself. It consists of five large gates, two small pedestrian gates and two copper-roofed gate houses with weather-vanes on their roofs.

58 of the park’s sculptures are situated along the Bridge, a 100 meter (328 ft) long connection between the Main Gate and the Fountain. Bronze figures contribute to the “Human Condition” theme of the park. In 1940 the Bridge was the first part of the park to be opened to the public. At the end of the bridge lies the Children’s Playground, a set of eight bronze statues, showing children at play, with a granite column in the center, representing a fetus.

The Fountain, originally designed to stand in front of Parliament, was fabricated from bronze. Portraying children and skeletons in the arms of giant trees, the Fountain suggests that from death comes new life. 1800 square meter mosaic laid in black and white granite surrounds the Fountain.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Monolith Plateau is a platform made of stairs that houses the Monolith totem itself. Access to the Plateau is made via eight figural gates of wrought iron. 36 figure groups reside on the elevation bringing with them the “circle of life” message. The Monolith (Monolitten), the totem to be fabricated from one solid piece of stone, lies at the highest point in the park. Construction of the 14 meters high monument began in 1924 when Gustav Vigeland himself modeled it out of clay in his studio in Frogner. The design process took him ten months. The realization in stone took 3 stone carvers 14 years. The Monolith is composed of 121 human figures rising towards the sky. This represents man’s desire to become closer with the divine and striving to salvation.

At the end of the 850-meter-long axis lays a sundial and the Wheel of Life, crafted in 1933-34. The wheel depicts four people and a baby floating in harmony. It is a symbol of eternity, and implies the main theme of the park: man’s journey from the cradle to the grave.

Vigeland did not live to see the completed park. The majority of the architectural elements and the sculptures was installed after his death.

The municipality of Oslo alongside with a number of private persons and companies were the contributors to the realization of the Vigeland Park, so that the capital of Norway got a park like no other in the whole world.

Website: www.vigeland.museum.no.

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