Exploring Oslo: Vigeland Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

Norway’s capital has enough attractions and things to do to warrant more than a day’s visit.  But my first visit to Oslo was en route to the Arctic and the time I had available to explore the picturesque mix of old and new was limited to a day.

When I asked the question “what should I see in Oslo”, both the Internet and real people gave me a consistent reply: The Sculpture Park.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

The world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist is enjoyed by more than 1 million visitors a year.  It was the vision of one man, Gustav Vigeland, with the majority of the construction completed between 1939 and 1949.  More than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron sit upon the lush, green grounds and were all modelled in full size in clay by Vigeland.  He then allowed professional craftsmen do the carving in granite and casting in bronze.  But the overall design remained under his watchful eye, including the layout of the 80 acre park.

The Monolith

On the highest point in the park, the Monolith Plateau, sits the Monolith itself.  121 figures were carved from one single granite block of 14 metres and has been interpreted in a number of ways: man’s resurrection, the struggle for existence, man’s yearning for spiritual spheres, the transcendence of everyday life and cyclic repetition.

Oslo Sculpture Park

Monolith Plateau – Figure Groups

The principal theme of the Monolith Plateau is the circle of life.  36 figure groups sit upon the plateau, in which Man is depicted in a variety of typical human situations and relationships.

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

(view of the park from the Monolith Plateau)

The Bridge

58 bronze sculptures line a 100 metre long and 15 metre wide bridge.  Children, women and men are depicted in an array of positions – both group and individual, symbolising human relationships and interaction.

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

Oslo Sculpture Park

 

Have you been to the Sculpture Park?  What was your favourite sculpture?  Mine is of the little boy seemingly throwing a tantrum!

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. We spent an entire morning at the sculpture park during our post-Svalbard expedition stay in Oslo. I’m jealous that you seemingly had a reasonably uncrowded day for your visit. Our day was filled with people – kids and adults alike – climbing on the statues. I think my favorite was the Wheel of Life at the far end of the park, behind the monolith. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

  2. The monolith is truly amazing. I hope you’ll post more photos of Norway!

  3. Hi, Kellie,
    I really enjoyed seeing your images of Vigeland Sculpture Park because it brought back our wonderful experience of seeing it after our Quark trip in July 2011. We spent five days going around Norway post-Quark, but Vigeland was definitely one of the high points! What an incredible place, and what an incredible artist! We loved the overall theme depicting the full cycle of life, but our favorite sculptures were (1) two old women with one apparently trying to comfort the other, and (2) a woman embracing a crowd of perhaps six small children who are all clinging to her. A lot of human emotion in those sculptures!

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