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article imageGustav Vigeland’s Sculpture Park and Gardens at Frogner, Oslo Special

By Igor I. Solar     Mar 27, 2011 in Entertainment
Oslo - Gustav Vigeland Sculpture Park located in Frognerparken, the largest public park in Oslo, contains the permanent open-air exhibition of more than 200 human sculptures created by the Norwegian artist in the first half of the twentieth century.
Frogner is one of Oslo’s most interesting districts. A section of Frogner, the Bygdøy Peninsula neighbourhood, holds several interesting museums mostly related to Norwegian explorers including among others, the Viking Ship Museum featuring a reconstruction of the famous Oseberg ship, the Kon-Tiki Museum displaying the original raft used by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 in his trip from Callao, Perú to Easter Island, Chile, and the Fram, the ship used by Roald Amundsen for his Antarctic expedition, the first to reach the South Pole in 1911.
However, some of the most impressive places in Frogner, and perhaps the highlights of a visit to the Norwegian capital, are the Vigeland Sculpture Park and gardens and the Vigeland Museum (the Museum is currently closed for renovations).
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Vigeland’s Park occupies about 32 hectares of Frogner Park. The site’s architectural setting and the layout of the grounds were designed by Gustav Vigeland and it includes 5 distinct sections: the Main Entrance and wrought iron gates, the Bridge, the Fountain, the Monolith and the Wheel of Life, all set among beautiful gardens.
Formal gardens in Vigeland Sculpture Park  Oslo  Norway.
Formal gardens in Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway.
Small fountain on the plateau  close to the Monolith. The large Fountain with the 6 giants and the b...
Small fountain on the plateau, close to the Monolith. The large Fountain with the 6 giants and the bridge can be seen in the background. Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo.
In total there are about 200 granite and bronze sculptures of human figures in the park and all of them are naked. It has been said that the life-size figures, represent nature and symbolize the human life cycle from birth to death, showing stages and feelings of happiness, anger, pain, fantasy, love, hope, despair, agony and the desire for eternity.
Vigeland Sculpture Park. Formal gardens  the Fountain and the Monolith in the background.
Vigeland Sculpture Park. Formal gardens, the Fountain and the Monolith in the background.
Close view of the Fountain at Vigeland Sculpture Park  Oslo.
Close view of the Fountain at Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo.
Most of the sculptures, with the exception of the huge 14-metre monolith, were carved by Gustav Vigeland without help from assistants during the period spanning from 1926 to 1942. The Monolith, installed on top of a plateau, was carved out of a single block of granite. Three stone carvers worked during 14 years to transfer Vigeland’s plaster design to the granite. The model was set up next to the totem-like rock as reference to the sculptors. The sculpture includes 121 human figures crawling up, attempting to reach the sky.
The Monolith. Granite sculpture at Vigeland Sculpture Park.
The Monolith. Granite sculpture at Vigeland Sculpture Park.
The Fountain was the first sculpture unit installed in the park. It comprises a large basin and six giant men of different ages holding aloft a large saucer-shaped bowl from which a curtain of water flows around them.
The Bridge, connecting the Main Gate with the Fountain, is about 100 metres long.
 The Angry Boy   bronze statue by Gustav Vigeland at Vigeland Sculpture Park in Frogner  Oslo.
"The Angry Boy", bronze statue by Gustav Vigeland at Vigeland Sculpture Park in Frogner, Oslo.
Dalbera
Along its side railings are 58 bronze figures. Among them is one of the best known statues of the park, the “Angry Boy”.
The Wheel of Life is located near the end of the park and consists of five human figures, four adults and a child, intertwined “in an eternal circle”.
Who was Gustav Vigeland?
Vigeland was born in Mandal, southwest of Norway in 1869. Since childhood, Gustav showed great ability as a woodcarver and at the age of 15 he went to Oslo to improve his technique. Later on, he travelled to Denmark, Italy, Germany, and France where he was impressed and influenced by the work of Auguste Rodin. From the beginning, Vigeland’s work showed intense feelings of despair, melancholy, desolation and death. These emotions, along with the sentiments of human closeness and affection, repeatedly reappeared in most of his works in later years.
Although he received enthusiastic approval among Norway's art critics, Vigeland found very difficult to make a living as a creative artist and in 1897 he took a job as sculptor in the restoration at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.
Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943).
Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943).
Anders Beer Wilse
By 1902, however, he had become bored with the limited creative freedom in the carving of a series of lizards and dragons and stopped working at the famous Gothic cathedral, which was not officially completed until recently, in 2001.
In 1902, having achieved artistic recognition from the Oslo Municipal authorities the sculptor was allocated occupancy of a run-down studio in which to work. In 1921, the building was torn down to be replaced by a library. At this time the Oslo City Council agreed to provide the sculptor with a new studio in return of Vigeland donating all his past and future sculptures to the city. As a result of this peculiar agreement, the artist made the studio his home and continued working there until his death in 1943. During this period he produced the nearly 600 figures in the sculptures now on display at Vigeland Park. His studio later became the Vigeland Museum showing most of the designs, diagrams, plaster and wood models used during the development and creative process of his many granite and bronze sculptures.
 Woman lifting baby in front of her . Bronze sculpture by Gustav Vigeland located in the Bridge at V...
"Woman lifting baby in front of her". Bronze sculpture by Gustav Vigeland located in the Bridge at Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo.
Gustav Vigeland was a very prolific artist. The volume of his work shown at the Vigeland Museum, next to the Park, includes about 12,000 drawings, nearly 400 wood cuttings and plaster models and no less than 1,600 sculptures.
Gardens and stairs up the plateau where the Monolith is located. Vigeland Sculpture Park  Oslo.
Gardens and stairs up the plateau where the Monolith is located. Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo.
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