Visiting and strolling through Vigeland Park is a must-do in Oslo. Once you’re here, you can understand why. Not only is it impeccable— the vibe is so interesting as you’re casually greeted by hundreds of unique (and very naked) statues everywhere. (Be sure to take a closer look at the statues, too.)
Although this is the largest outdoor park in Oslo, we walked through it quickly. We spent a little over an hour here, enjoying the landscape. We walked about 20 minutes from our hotel near the waterfront in Oslo. Initially, we were greeted with gorgeous blue skies–only to quickly turn to wind, rain, snow and sleet. We didn’t mind but was shocked since it was already June. We love Scandinavia very much, but wasn’t accustomed to seeing snow and sleet in the summer months.
The main sculpture that stands out in the Park is the large Obelisk in the center. The Obelisk in Oslo Norway is one of 200 works of art created by sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). The white granite column called the “Monolith” consists of a series of intertwining human bodies. As the name suggests, the sculpture is carved out of one enormous piece of granite 46 feet tall, and depicts 121 figures climbing in and around each other, all fighting their way to the top Vigeland Sculpture Park is a result of one man’s artistic obsession and a lifetime of work dedicated to the human form. The park contains 212 bronze and granite sculptures created by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. He worked over a period of almost 20 years, from 1924 to 1943, and donated his sculptures to the city of Oslo. The sculptures range in topic from representation of humans in everyday situations, such as walking, sitting, holding hands, to more symbolic subjects such as “Man Attacked by Babies,” to highly abstract works, which represent the centerpiece of the complex.
Vigeland was also responsible for the design and architectural outline of the park, which is one of Norway’s top tourist attractions, with more than one million annual visitors.
The park offers public restrooms and has a nice cafe. Vigeland Park is free and is open the public 24 hours a day.
The Fountain is one of the park’s most notable sights, a magnificent structure surrounded by 20 statues, each representing a different stage of human life, from childhood to death. A plaster model of the fountain was exhibited as early as 1906, though the sculpture was initially intended for Norway’s Parliament.
Beyond the Bridge, the path continues through a rose garden to the Fountain, the earliest sculpture unit in the park. In the center of the basin six giants hold the large saucer-shaped vessel aloft and from it a curtain of water spills down around them. The men, representing different ages, may be interpreted as toiling with the burden of life.
Water, a universal symbol of fertility, is used within the fountain complex in a meaningful juxtaposition with the twenty tree groups on the surrounding parapet, the latter evidently symbolising “the three of life”.
The tree groups represent a romantic expression of Man’s relationship to nature. They also form the setting for life’s evolving stages, stretching from childhood and adolescence through adulthood to old age and death.
But to focus only on these highlights would in many ways be to miss the essence of the collection. Sculptured figures set along casually Frogner Park’s walkways, such as the bridge designed by Vigeland himself, capture the essence of the installation. These sculptures are sublime studies of the human body in all its glorious simplicity — male and female, young and old — and examine human relationships.
This park was considered controversial at one time and it almost didn’t exist. The unique sculpture park houses more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron. They all have one thing in common. All of the sculptures are of people – men, women and children – and they are all naked. Every last one of them. In fact, when Vigeland Park was originally opened to the public it caused an outrage. The strictly conservative Norwegians of the time could not believe that a public park would contain nothing but images of naked people, some of them doing rude or intimate things. Good thing that didn’t last because this is a real masterpiece!