This week we shall take a tour to the Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo. The Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. The park is open to visitors all year round.
The Main Gate in granite and wrought iron facing Kirkeveien marks the beginning of the 850 meter long axis that leads over the Bridge to the Fountain on to the Monolith and ends in the Wheel of life. The Main Gate consists of five large gates and two small pedestrian gates in wrought iron. Railings curve outwards on each side and end in two copper-roofed gate houses, topped by guilded weather vanes.
The gates were designed in 1926. The upper parts, surmounted by lanterns, were redesigned in the 1930’s to replace the older ones. The wrought iron was carried out in a forge which was constructed next to the Vigeland Museum, south of the park. The Main Gate was erected in 1942 and was financed by a Norwegian bank.
The unique sculpture park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park. The Vigeland Park was mainly completed between 1939 and 1949.
Most of the sculptures are placed in five units along an 850 meter long axis: The Main gate, the Bridge with the Children’s playground, the Fountain, the Monolith plateau and the Wheel of Life.
To the north inside the Main Entrance stands Vigeland’s self-portrait (1942). Dressed in his everyday working clothes, with hammer and chisel in hand, he stands as a signature of his own work.
Among the sculptures in the park the Fountain has the longest history. The idea of a monumental bronze fountain had occupied the mind of Vigeland since the turn of the century. A sketch in plaster, that resembles today’s fountain, attracted great enthusiasm when exhibited in 1906.
Around the first world war Vigeland enlarged his fountain project with a number of large granite groups. And in 1919 an enormous granite column also had become part of the plan. It was not until 1924, when the city left the Frogner fields to Vigeland, that the fountain found its final location. Some changes were made from the original sketch.
The 20 tree groups were all modelled between 1906 and 1914. Beneath the crown of the trees the life of man, from cradle to grave, unfolds. Our time on earth is at the same time only a part of an eternal cycle with no beginning and no end. After the tree group with the skeleton which is about to decay in nature, follows a tree full of children: From death arises new life.
In earlier posts, I have exhibited various sculptures in the park, like in The Monolith.
The information given in the post is taken from park’s website References: http://www.vigeland.museum.no/en/vigeland-park