Vigeland Sculpture Park

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The Vigeland Park or Frogner Park is a public park located in Frogner, Oslo. It consists of various bridges, fountains and statues by Vigeland. The Vigeland Park is the largest park in the city and covers 320 hectares. The area was ready for Gustav Vigeland fountain in 1924 and the final plan was released in 1932 by the city-council. The park covers 80 acres (320,000 m2) and features 212 bronze and granite sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland. Together with the gates which are forged of granite and wrought iron, the Main Gate serves as an entrance to the park itself. It consists of five large gates, two small pedestrian gates and two copper-roofed gate houses, both adorned with weathervanes.

The Main Gate was designed in 1926, redesigned in the 1930s and erected in 1942. It was financed by a Norwegian bank. at Kirkeveien, the sculptural park consists of 7 parts.

  • Frognerbroen with 58 bronse-sculptures and 4 groups of "lizards" in granite.
  • The children-square with 9 small children-sculptures made of bronse.
  • The labyrinth-square with the fountain.
  • The floors
  • The monolith-plateu with 8 artistic gates, sirclestairs and the 17 metre-tall Monolith.

58 of the park's sculptures reside along the Bridge, a 100 meter (328 ft) long, 15 meter (49 ft) wide connection between the Main Gate and the Fountain. All are clad in bronze and contribute to the “Human Condition” theme of the park. Here visitors will find one of the parks more popular statues, Sinnataggen or “Angry Boy”.

In 1940 the Bridge was the first part of the park to be opened to the public. Visitors could enjoy the sculptures while most of the park was still under construction. At the end of the bridge lies the Children’s Playground, a collaboration of eight bronze statues, all in the likenesses of children at play.

Originally designed to stand in front of Parliament (Eidsvolls plass), the Fountain was fabricated from bronze and adorned with 60 individual bronze reliefs. Portraying children and skeletons in the arms of giant trees, the Fountain suggests that from death comes new life. On the ground surrounding the Fountain lies an 1800 square meter mosaic laid in black and white granite. It took Vigeland a great deal of time to establish the monument: from 1906 to 1947.

The Monolith Plateau is a platform made of stairs that houses the Monolith totem itself. 36 figure groups reside on the elevation bringing with them the “circle of life” message. Access to the Plateau is made via eight figural gates forged in wrought iron. The gates were designed between 1933 and 1937 and erected shortly after Vigeland died in 1943.

At the highest point in the park lies the park's most popular attraction, The Monolith (Monolitten). The name derives from the Latin word monolithus from the Greek word μονόλιϑος (monolithos), derived from μόνος ("one" or "single") and λίϑος ("stone") implying the totem to be fabricated from one (mono) solid piece of stone (lith). Construction of the massive monument began in 1924 when Gustav Vigeland himself modeled it out of clay in his studio in Frogner. The design process took him ten months, and it is speculated that Vigeland had the help of a few sketches drafted in 1919. The model was then cast in plaster.

In the autumn of 1927 a block of granite weighing several hundred tons was delivered to the park from a stone quarry in Halden. It was erected a year later and a wooden shed was built around it to keep out the elements. Vigeland’s plaster design was set up next to it to give reference to its sculptors. Transferring of the figures began in 1929 and took 3 stone carvers 14 years to accomplish. On the Christmas of 1944 the public was allowed to admire The Monolith and 180,000 people crowded the wooden shed to get a close look at the creation. The shed was demolished shortly thereafter. The Monolith towers 14.12 meters (46.32 ft) high and is composed of 121 human figures rising towards the sky. This is meant to represent man’s desire to become closer with the spiritual and divine. It portrays a feeling of togetherness as the human figures embrace one another as they are carried toward salvation.

At the end of the 850-meter-long axis lies a sundial, forged in 1930, and finally the Wheel of Life, crafted in 1933-34.

The wheel is more or less a wreath depicting four people and a baby floating in harmony. It is a symbol of eternity, and implies the overall theme of the park: man’s journey from the cradle to the grave.

History

On the middle of the 1700th century, then owner of the area, Hans Jacop Scheel formed a garden. It was expanded by the people that followed him, by those Bernt Anker who bought Frogner Hovedgård and the surrounding area in 1790 before expanding the main building on the property. After Anker, Benjamin Wegner took over the property in 1836 and he transformed the park into a romantic park around 1840. This park was smaller than todays park. In 1836, Kristiania kommune bought what was left of the property after most of it had been sold to private owners. The kommune decided around year 1900 to make a park for recreation and sports. Frogner Stadion was opened near the road and the area near the buildings were opened to the public in 1904. The jubilee-exhibition in 1914 was held here. The kommune decided that Gustaf Vigelands fountain with all his monuments and statues should be placed in the park. Most of the statues depict people engaging in various typically human pursuits, such as running, wrestling, dancing, hugging, holding hands and so on. However, Vigeland occasionally included some statues that are more abstract, such as the "Man attacked by Genii" statue, which shows an adult male, fighting off a horde of putti-like mythological figures.

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