If you’ve read my Oslo city break review or seen the photo diary, you might be surprised that visiting a park was high up on our hit list given the weather. But never one to let snow and a sub-zero temperature get in the way of an adventure, Mr Sparrow and I embarked on a trip to this beautiful location.
But what makes Vigeland Sculpture Park so special?
One of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions (with over a million visitors per year), it is the largest park featured the work of a single sculptor in the world. Featuring over 200 sculptures from Gustav Vigeland (who made a deal with the City of Oslo to donate all his future works to them) made from bronze, granite and wrought iron, everything from the sculptures to the layout was managed and overseen by Vigeland himself, and completed in around 1949 after many years of work and 6 years after his death.
The park itself is housed within the much larger and very beautiful Frogner Park (the district feels like the more exclusive area of the city of Oslo), and is weird, creepy and wonderful all at once. Said to be based around a theme of the “circle of life”, all of the sculptures are naked which means they are timeless and not dated by clothes or looks of the 1920’s and 1930’s. It only adds to the very raw human-ness that each sculpture has about them, from the young children on the bridge to the skeleton by the fountain.
Possibly the most impressive part of the park is the monolith at the end – a huge sculpture that took over 14 years to complete and that features 121 figures. At almost 18 metres high, it really becomes the focal point of the whole park and looks incredible against the blue sky it soars up in to.
You might not have considered Norway to be of artistic pedigree, like places such as Italy or France that are known for their great art. But Norway has been home not only Vigeland, but to Edvard Munch (of The Scream fame) and to playwright Henrik Ibsen (my most favourite playright, with notable works such as A Dolls House and Hedda Gabler).
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