Oslo – The Vigeland Park

Vanligvis, når det i forskjellige sammenheng er snakk om ‘Verdens største’, så tenker man som oftest på Amerika. Men i Norge her vi også noe som er ‘Verdens største’: En av Oslo’s største attraksjoner: Vigelandsparken!

Usually, whenever it’s about ‘the largest in the world’, we usually think of America. But in Norway we do in fact have something qualifying to ‘the largest in the world’: One of the foremost tourist attractions in Oslo: The Vigeland Park!
Pictures 1393Vigelandsparken er den største ‘skulptur-park’ i verden laget av en enkelt kunstner! Parken er total på 320 mål og inneholder over 200 kunstverk i bronse, granitt eller smijern som sammen representerer Gustav Vigelands totale livsverk. Kunstneren har selv medvirket til planlegging og den totale utforming av parkanlegget.

Langs hovedaksen finner vi hoved-elementene: ‘Broen‘, ‘Fontenen‘ og selve ‘Monolitten‘, men også ‘Livshjulet‘ fanger en viss oppmerksomhet. Parken inneholder dessuten et eget Vigelands-museum hvor man kan følge utvikling av kunstverk trinn for trinn.

The Vigeland Park is the biggest sculptural park in the world made by one single artist!
The park itself includes an area close to 800 acres, 200 sculptures in bronze, granite or cast iron and represents the total ‘life production’ of the artist Gustav Vigeland.
The artist himself has also participated in the planning as well as the final construction of the park.

Along the main axis the main elements consist of: ‘The Bridge‘, ‘The main Fountain‘ and ‘the Monolith‘ itself, but also ‘the wheel of life‘ creates some attention.
Pictures 1394Idet vi går inn i parken, kan det være greit å kaste et blikk på ett av Vigelands mange smijernsarbeider: Inngangsporten?

Entering the park, it may be a good idea to study one of Vigelands products in cast iron: ‘The Entrance Gate’
Pictures 1397Og kanskje få med oss et lite detalje-bilde? Tauverk utført i smijern er ikke dagligdags!
And perhaps include some details from the gate? Ropeworks in cast iron isn’t something seen too often?

Pictures 1402Rett innenfor porten møter vi kunstneren Vigeland i egen høye person. Gustav Vigeland levde i tiden 1869 – 1943 og denne parken ble fullført i årene 1939 – 1949. Han fikk altså aldri se parken ferdig montert – dessverre!

Just inside the gates we meet the artist, Gustav Vigeland, himself. Gustav Vigeland lived from 1869 – 1943 and this memorial park was finished through the years 1939 – 1949.
He never lived to see his park officially opened – unfortunately!
Pictures 1400På den andre siden av inngangen finner vi en graittsøyle som profilerer navnet på bedrifter og etater som har bidratt økonomisk til at parken fremstår i sin nåværende form.
Det var en masse navn også på de øvrige sider, men det er vel strengt tatt ikke derfor vi har laget denne reportasjen –

On the opposite side of the entrance we find a granite pillar profiling the name of  different enterprises, donors and/or official estblishments having contributed financially to create the park to what it is today. There were a lot of names on all sides, but – that’s not why we’re here today.
Pictures 1410Det finnes et lite ‘Vigeland Besøkssenter’ med litt servering, salg av souvenirer og brosjyrer samt toaletter –

There is a Vigeland Visiting Center offering food, beverages, souvenirs, brochures and toilet facilities

Pictures 1412*  *  *
Pictures 1418Vi begynner med ‘Broen’, det første elementet i denne parken. Det er ganske umulig for meg å omtale hvert enkelt kunstverk og derfor må mye overlates til ‘øyet som ser’ og subjektive oppfatninger. Og som de fleste kunstnere så var nok også Vigeland opptatt av ‘nakenhet’.

Let’s start off wit ‘The Bridge’, the first main element in this park. It’s quite impossible for me to comment on each sculpture as we move along,  thus things has to be left to the eyes of the visitors (you) and your subjective perceptions. :-)  And like most artists, it seems that Vigeland also was pretty hung up into ‘nudity’. Prepare yourself!🙂
Pictures 1422Her ser vi langs broens venstre side. De fleste av de 58 skulpturene på broen er nok laget i tiden 1926-1933.
Her a view along the left side of the bridge. Most of the 58 sculptures on the bridge have been created through the years 1926 – 1933
Bilde 1633bHer tar vi en rask avstikker ned mot den sydlige del av parken. Relativt godt skjult mellom trærne finner vi Vigelandsmuseet, og kanskje er det et godt sted å begynne før man gir seg selve parken i vold?

Heree we take a quick detour to the southern part of the park. Well hidden among the trees lies the Vigeland Museum, and perhaps is that a good place to start before goint to the park itself?

Bilde 1637bHer finner vi også en statue av konsul Gerhard Gade som var den siste private eier av Frogner Hovedgård, grunnlagt i 1750, som også ligger her.

Here we may fin d a memorial over Consul Gerhard Gade, the last privfate owner of the
‘Frogner Farm’ which was established in 1750 but may still be found here!
Bilde 1638bI en sidebygning her holder Oslo Bymuseum til!
In a side building here the Oslo City Museum have their facilities
Bilde 1639bHer et bilde fra gårdsrommet foran hovedbygningen.
Here a picture from the yard in front of the main building.
Bilde 1641bVia en liten sti og over en liten bro, og vips er vi tilbake i selve Vigelandsparken!

Following a small track over a bridge and suddenly we are back in the park itself.Pictures 1423Her har jeg tatt et bilde mer direkte over broen og vi ser at så vel den store fontenen som selve ‘Monolitten’ er montert nøyaktig på den sentrale aksen.

Here I have taken a picture directly across the bridge, and we may observe that ‘the main fountain’ as well as the ‘Monolith’ have been erected directly on the main axis of the park.
Pictures 1425Vigeland kalte denne skulpturen ‘Løpende gutter’ (Personlig ville jeg kanskje ha valgt ‘Tvillingene’), men her er det artisten som bestemmer🙂

Vigeland called this piece ‘Running boys’ (Perssonally I’d have gone for ‘Twins’) but here in this park it’s the artist who has the last word!🙂
Pictures 1427Og broen har naturligvis en høyre side. Og det er like mange skulpturer der!
And, of course, the bridge has a right side. And there are just as many sculptures there!

Pictures 1428Her er et lite panoramabilde tatt fra midten av brua.
A small panorama shot taken from the middle of the bridge.

Pictures 1429Å plassere en mann og en kvinne inne i et slikt hjul (som visstnok symboliserer ‘evighet’) kan indikere at artisten kan ha tenkt på ‘en vedvarende kjærlighet gjennom livets mange faser’, men det finnes sikkert andre fortolkninger . . .

To place a man and a woman in an everlasting chain inside a wheel (said to symbolize the eternity of life) might indicate that the artist have been working along the lines of ‘everlasting love through life’, but surely there will be other interpretations as well . . .?
Pictures 1430Her på enden av broen har Vigeland plassert et av sine mest berømte sculpturer: ‘Sinnataggen’

Here at the end of the bridge, Vigeland has placed one of his absolute best know sculptures: ‘Sinnataggen’ (The angry one)

Pictures 1431På slutten av broen, denne gangen på høyre side. Legg merke til den høye granittsøylen som er èn av fire. På samtlige har Vigeland hugget ut kvinner som slåss med kjempe-øgler som symboliserer de onde makter.

At the end of the bridge (Right side). Please observe the large granite pillar, which is one of four. On the top of each one, Vigeland has created a woman batteling an enormous lizard symbolizing evil forces.

Pictures 1391Her underkaster en av damene seg øglen som angriper henne.
Here one of the ladies submit to the lizard that attacks her.

Pictures 1434Og for at dere skal få et litt annerledes inntrykk av denne broen, så ser dere her et bilde tatt fra siden og hvor vannet får renne igjennom fra dam til dam . .

And to enable you get a better impression of this bridge, here a side shot letting you see the water coming through from pond to pond . . .

Pictures 1362Her tar vi en liten avstikker langs den nordlige aksen og finner en annen kjent skulptur:  ‘Piken og øglen’.

Her we take a small detour along the northern axis and find the renowned sculpture:
‘The girl and the lizard’.

Pictures 1366Et lite detaljstudium av selve øglen.
A detailed picture of the lizard itself.

Pictures 1370Ikke langt fra ‘Piken og øglen’ står et av Vigelands aller største sculpturer som består av ikke mindre enn 21 personer og hvor hovedmotivet sies å være ‘Beskyttelse’, dvs. trygghet innenfor familien.

Not very far from ‘The Girl and the Lizard’, we may see one of the largest sculptures from Vigelands hands including no less than 21 different persons, and where the main motive is built around ‘protection and safety within a family’
Pictures 1435Tilbake ved broen passerer vi igjennom en stor blomsterpark før vi når området der den store fontenen står.

Back at the bridge we’re passing through a large area with flowers, mostly roses, on our way towards the large fountain.

Bilde 1651bVigelandsparken er et populært mål for mange, og her kommer hver eneste dag store busser med besøkende turister fra alle land i verden.

The Vigeland Park is a very populat tourist destination to a great many people!
Every day through the summer large busses arrive with large groups of tourists from all over the world.
Pictures 1437Pictures 1439Pictures 1440

Bilde 1654b
Men nå har vi kommer frem til element nr 2: Den store fontenen.

Det er ganske skuffende at man stenger av vannet midt i turist-sesongen når man ganske sikkert kunne ha lagt nødvendig vedlikehold til en litt annene tid på året?

By now we have reached the element no 2 in the park: The main fountain!
And it’s rather disappointing to observe that the water has been shut off in the middle of the tourist season? Surely it would have been possible to do maintenance work outside of season?
Pictures 1442Isteden får jeg ty til noen linker som viser hvordan dette anlegget ser ut når man velger  å skru på vannet!
Instead I’ll give you a few links that will give you an idea how this fountain looks when they choose to turn on the water.
Bilde 1646bFontenen består av en enorm tallerken fyllt med vann som løftes mot himmelen av 6 gigantiske menn mens det hele innhylles i et ‘gardin’ av fallende vann som samles i et indre basseng. På kanten rundt bassenget vokser ‘livets trær’ med klatrende piker. Langs ytterkanten av det indre bassenget finnes en lang rekke relieffer i bronse og ytterst en liten vollgrav, også den fyllt med vann! Et majestetisk skue –  særlig når vannet er skrudd på!

The fountain consists of an enormous  vessel, normally filled with water, that’s liftet towards the sky by six giants while everything is shrouded in a curtain of falling water collected into the upper basin. Along the rim of this basin you may observe the ‘trees of life’ with young maidens.  in the walls of the basin there are a great number of  exiting reliefs in bronze and outside of it all – a moat filled with water . A majestic sight once the water is turned on!

Det er kanskje ikke så lett å se på bildet, men rundt fontenen er det laget en enorm labyrint i steinheller hvor besøkende kan prøve å finne veien ut/inn av labyrinten.

It may be har to see from the picture, but in the pavement around the fountain there is an extensive maze (made in granite tiles) where visitor may try to find their way through.
Bilde 1648b
Pictures 1450Et praktfullt monument fra Gustav Vigeland, men uten vann blir det liksom ikke helt det samme? Mer som et tomt skall? Jeg lar likevel bildet stå for at man skal kunne få et inntrykk av dem som bærer skålen med vannet

A majestic monument from Gustav Vigeland, but without water it’s not the same anymore. More like an empty shell? But I’ll leave this picture standing in order to give you an impression og the mighty men carrying the  basin of water.
Pictures 1445Noen av ‘livets trær’. Legg merke til at alle tilsynelatende har tre kroner, men er likevel høyst forskjellige. Så også de unge pikene som ‘leker seg i skogen’

Here some of ‘the trees of life’. Please observe that they all seem to have three canopies, but they are still different. So is the young maidens ‘playing in the woods’.
Pictures 1446Det kan lett se ut som noe helt annet :-)  men Vigelands tittel på dette kunstverket er ‘Tre gutter som slåss’.

It might easy look like something entirely different🙂 but Vigelands title to this artwork is ‘Three boys fighting’.
Pictures 1453Vi tar fatt på trappene opp mot Monolitten og oppdager at det egentlig er flere haver, bygget som terrasser, som etter hvert vil bringe oss opp til selve Monolitten.

We’re starting on the steps towards ‘the Monolith’, but discover soon enough that these are actualle small gardens, built like terraces, which will finally lead us to the Monolit itself.
Pictures 1454*  *  *
Pictures 1455Dette er på neste nivå. Havene kan være til forveksling like, men blomstene er forskjellige.
We’re on the next level. There gardens may look confusingly alike, but the flowers are different.

Pictures 1458

Kunstferdige smijernsporter åpnes mot det siste området: Selve Monolitten.

Gates in cast iron opens up to the last element: The Monolith itself
Pictures 1470Det er litt underlig å tenke på at dette kunstverket engang ble brukt som motiv på et frimerke. Og at US Postal Service nektet å levere ut slike brev til addressatene!

It’s a bit strange to recall that this artwork was once used as a motive on a Norwegian stamp. An that the US Postal Service refused to deliver such letters to the addressees!!!
Pictures 1463Så er vi på toppen!  Her står den berømte Monolitten. En solid granittssøyle, 17 meter høy, bestående av ikke mindre enn 121 menneskekropper flettet i hverandre i sin kamp for å komme seg til toppen.  Symboliserer ‘livets kamp’.  I den sylindriske trappen rundt selve Monolitten står ikke mindre enn 36 grupper – også i solid graitt – so viser menneskeskjebner i forskjellige trinn av livet. Denne Monolitten veier alene 180 tonn og ble hugget ut der den står idag. Kunstverket sto ferdig like før Vigeland døde.

Finally at the top! Here is the renowned Monolith. A solid granite pillar standing 56 feet and consist of no less than 121 human figures striving to reach the top. It’s said that it ment to symbolize the struggle of life.
Around the Monolit there are sylindrical steps where another 36 granite groups have been mounted. These groups show people in different phases of life. The Monolith itself weighs a staggering 180 tons and was carved where it stands today. The artwork was finished in just before Vigeland died.
Pictures 1465  *  *  *

Pictures 1468Her har jeg tatt et panoramabilde over parken, sett fra monolitten mot inngangspartiet.

Here I have taken a panorama shot from the Monoilith towards the entrance of the park.
Pictures 1472Bak monolitten finner vi et solid solur.

Behind the monolith, we foid a solid ‘sundial’

Pictures 1473Opp en ny trapp venter enda et kunstvcrk som heter ‘Livshjulet‘.
Up a new set of steps another artwork is waiting: The wheel of Life’
Pictures 1477‘Livshjulet’ ble modellert i 1933-34, men først oppført i bronze i 1949.
Hjulet er et symbol på evigheten og her er det utformet som en roterende sirkel  av kvinner, menn og barn som holder hverandre fast til evig tid. Slik oppsummerer denne skulpturen hele parkens dramatiske tema: En billedhuggers refleksjoner over menneskets vandring fra fødsel til grav, gjennom glede og sorg, gjennom drøm, fantasi, håp og evige lengsler.

Igjen beklager jeg at vannet var stengt av i deler av parken, men gitt vær og anledning vil jeg gjøre et nytt forsøk senere og evt. bytte ut dagens bilder med noen der vannet er med.
Og så håper jeg dere alle fikk et positivt inntrykk av Vigelandsparken?

The wheel of Life was modelled in 1933-34 but ultimately molded in bronze in 1949.
The wheel is a symbol of eternity, and here it’s designed as a rotating circle consisting of women, men and children holding each other in an everlasting grip. This sculpture might in many ways sum up thew whole dramatic theme of the park: A sculptors reflections upon  the evolution of the human race from birth till death, through joy and sorrow, through dreams and fantasies, hopes and eternal longings.

Again I regret that the water wasn’t connected throughout the park, but given favourable weather aand an opportunity, I’ll surely try again. Eventually I’ll exchange the pictures of today with new ones – including water!🙂
And I hope you all got a favourable impression of the Vigeland Park?

(Compliments of SRB )

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About Seenorway

'See Norway' vil i fremtid befatte seg med å vise bildereportasjer fra byer, kommuner og tettsteder rundt i Norge. 'See Norway' will take pride in showing you picture reports from communities and settlements throughout Norway. Contact: post@roby.no
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25 Responses to Oslo – The Vigeland Park

  1. Helen Bushe says:

    I still remember how much I liked these sculptures.

  2. I was very happy to find this post about the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. My husband and I are going to visit there on July 7th. It looks wonderful. Thanks for posting your beautiful photos and writing about this fascinating park.

    • Seenorway says:

      Hi Catherine,
      So you’re coming to Oslo with your family? How nice! We seem to have a very fine summer. At least so far!🙂
      I’m sure you’ll have a ball in Oslo/Norway, but I’m afraid it has become an expensive city to visit. The Vigeland Park is absolutely free, though!

      • We are visiting Oslo on a cruise, so sadly we won’t be able to spend much time there – or opportunity to spend much money😉

        • Seenorway says:

          Oh, I see! Then you’re covered!🙂 But then again I guess your time will be very limited?
          Cruise ships travel by night to enable passengers to see things in daylight and there isn’t much of Oslo that may be seen inside 5-6 hours. Perhaps the Vigeland Park would be a good choice? The bus will take you there inside 10 minutes, but then you’ll probably need at least a couple of hours in the park (depending on interest)
          Then there are the Akershus Fortress & Castle less than 10 minutes walk from where your ship is docked. May be seen in half an hour unless you get admission to the inside. Then you’ll be needing another hour – at least!
          Then there is the Oslo City Hall (5 minutes to walk) which would probably interesting to see, or you could possibly visit the Royal palace in Oslo?
          They allow guided tours! (15 minutes walk from the docks)

  3. irinadim says:

    Thank you for this most amazing tour of the largest Sculpture Park in the world. Gustav Vigeland is Auguste Rodin of Norway, only Rodin’s park is much smaller.

  4. Pingback: Update Vigeland Park | See Norway – Se Norge

  5. The Belmont Rooster says:

    AWESOME!

    • Seenorway says:

      Thank you! We’ve got a new exiting sculpture park in Oslo! Unfortunately it’s out of reach for me and my angina for the time being, but I’ve put my best man on the job. Hopefully we’ll be able to show you something from it in the near future.

  6. Mormor says:

    Deilig i late sommerdager, frodige vårdag og flammende høstdager, betagende med uskyldshvit sne. (synd sneen ikke holder seg uskyldshvit så lenge.
    Takk og ha en fin kveld🙂

  7. neggfre says:

    ¡Impresionante!, cada detalle.

  8. joshi daniel says:

    that gate looks really different🙂

    • SeeNorway says:

      Hi Joshi,
      Different to what? 🙂 There are more than a dozen such cast iron gates in the Vigeland Park, all in different sizes and with varying motives! Only leading into the Monolith area I think there are no less than eight of them!

  9. Patrizia M. says:

    Non lo conoscevo, grazie per avermelo fatto conoscere con le tue spiegazioni e le stupende foto.
    Ciao, Patrizia

  10. I remember our visit , many years ago, to Vigerland…an experience that does deserve to be remembered. …..and I also recall our kids ‘sniggers’ at some of the sculptures! Thanks for refreshing our memories. I bet you will be back again.
    We also have a BIG Sculpture Park, only 500 acres and more than one artists work displayed, but none the less another great day out. I did page for the blog last year (http://davidoakesimages.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/a-grand-day-out/) you might like to take another look.

    • SeeNorway says:

      Hi David,
      Yes, I can fully understand that somebody would snigger at some of the scenes revealed in some of the artworks! And we are all different in how we look at things, accept or reject things in our everyday life. (Like the US Postal Service🙂 ) But I do wish I could have portrayed the fountain with water like it usually has. I’ll try again though!

      You also seem to have a wonderful park over there. More on shapes and forms than replica of people?

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