Nordic Adventure, Part 5: The Vigeland Installation

Frogner Park, in Oslo Norway, is often referred to inaccurately as Vigeland Park.  The 450,000 square meter park is home to the world famous Vigelandsanlegget, or Vigeland installation.  Referring to the park as Vigeland Park is a very common mistake but the name has no official status and is considered wrong.  I didn’t know this while I was in Oslo, by the way- I only learned that the park was called Frogner Park when I sat down to write this post.

The Vigeland sculptures were created by Gustav Vigeland (born Adolf Gustav Thorsen in 1869).  This is the man.

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The sculpture area in Frogner Park covers 80 acres and includes 212 bronze and granite sculptures designed by Vigeland.  The Bridge was the first part of the installation to open, in 1940.  You can see the Fountain and the Monolith in this picture.  We’ll get to those.

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The sculptures in the Vigeland intallation are all naked, because the sculptor didn’t want clothing to date them.  Most of them reflect the human condition.  Many of them represent children at play.  The titles are often not very creative, but they’re precise.  This one is called “Man lifting girl with one arm.”

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This fellow is one of the most popular sculptures in the park.  He is Sinnataggen, or Angry Boy.

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Say hello to “Man inside a ring.”

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I wasn’t able to find a name for these little ones.  It was possible to purchase a guide to the installation for a small fee, but I didn’t buy one.

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Man and woman inside ring.  I vote that we rename this one “Tumble dry low.”

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This is called “Man running,” but I think it’s a stretch to call this running.

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This one is “Dancing young woman.”

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This one is actually called “Man chasing four geniuses,” but I like to think of it as the ultimate “No, I don’t want children!” statue.

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Once you walk past the bridge, you reach the Fountain.  While the center fountain itself was done somewhere around 1909 the full installation of the Fountain here was completed in 1947.  The ground around the fountain is an 1,800 square meter mosaic in black and white granite which forms an almost 3,000 meter long labyrinth.  If you have an hour or two, you can walk through it.

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This is the Fountain itself.

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The Fountain is surrounded by tree sculptures.

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Here’s a view from above, looking back toward the Bridge.

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Moving past the Fountain, you reach the wrought iron gates to the Monolith.   There are eight of these gates, depicting man at different ages.

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Next, we reach the Monolith.  This plateau is the highest point in Frogner Park.  The Monolith is carved out of a single piece of granite, and is just over seventeen meters high.  It is not clear what the column is supposed to represent, and there are many theories.

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Surrounding the Monolith are 36 figure groupings, depicting the cycle of life.

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This one is called “Standing man lifting dead man.”

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As you can imagine, these are popular with tour groups and children.

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This kid is perched atop “Man throwing woman.”

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This one is called “Young boy and girl.”  Again, Vigeland wasn’t much with the creative names.

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Continuing in the same direction, we reach the final sculpture, The Wheel of Life.  The wheel supposedly represents eternity, and is a ring of men, women, and children holding onto each other.

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Have you ever been to Vigeland… sorry, to Frogner Park?

7 thoughts on “Nordic Adventure, Part 5: The Vigeland Installation

    1. I did a full Nordic track: Helsinki > Stockholm > Oslo > Copenhagen > Reykjavik. I’m still writing up all the posts from the trip though.

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  1. Those statues are quite remarkable, and I find it fascinating that Vigeland left them unclothed so they didn’t date – they look contemporary to me, in fact. I particularly like the dancing young woman: she has totally stolen my moves.

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  2. Pingback: Frogner Park and Vigeland’s Whimsical Statues in Oslo | Fabulous 50's

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