They say that the best things in life are free and this is certainly the case with Vigeland Park in Oslo.
While most activities in Oslo may set you back a whole lot of krones, Vigeland Park, which is akin to an open-air sculpture gallery, is open to everyone regardless of budget. The lack of cost may be a contributing factor to it being the most popular tourist attraction in Norway, but it’s also the fact that the sculptures carved out by the brilliant Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) are simply spectacular.
The 212 nude sculptures of men, women and children throughout Vigeland Park depict the stages of life and the human condition. You’ll find granite and stone statues in an array of poses: some which will have you giggling, others which will have you reflecting and some which may have you blushing. The precision and care with which these statues in Vigeland Park were carved is illustrated through every body contour and every facial expression. Gustav, who was also responsible for the layout of the park spanning 80 acres, completed most of the project between 1939 and 1949. Many of the sculptures are located along the bridge walkway, which leads towards the fountain depicting the eternal cycle of life and the towering monolith.
The undisputed masterpiece of the sculpture park is the soaring monolith made up of intertwined naked human bodies – 121 bodies, in fact – struggling to reach for the heavens above in a final act of salvation. The monolith is situated on top of a plateau, guaranteeing that the impressive totem of bodies can be seen in every direction well before reaching the platform. The piece was carved from a single granite block, which is why it is called the monolith (mono: one; litho: stone).
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Note: The Vigeland sculpture installation is located within Frogner Park and is often incorrectly referred to as ‘Vigeland Park’ in English, a name that is not officially recognised by Norwegians.