Wandering around Vigelandsparken – Oslo’s quirky sculpture park

As soon as I knew I was visiting Oslo for the day, I made it my mission to find this crazy, yet awesome sculpture park. Vigelandsparken is one of Oslo’s most visited places and boasts approximately one million visitors each year and with good reason too. As a part of Frognerparken, Oslo’s largest public park, Vigelandsparken is surrounded by luscious green grass during the summer and early autumn months. Locals and tourists flock to the park on a sunny day to chill out, people watch, or enjoy a nice picnic. It took me about two hours of searching and wandering to find it, since I had forgotten to bring my city map with me that day. Oops! I was quite literally asking locals where the “naked statue park” was. They knew exactly what I meant and pointed me in the right direction. As I walked through the gates of the park, I felt like I had stepped into the grounds of a palace straight out of some kind of weird, wacky and stunning storybook with nude sculptures and blossoming flowers everywhere I looked.

Vigelandsparken is a massive, gorgeous sculpture park filled with 212 granite sculptures by the Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. Open year round to the public, the park contains a total of 650 human sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was in charge of the design and layout of the park, but unfortunately, he passed away before the park’s completion, which in 1949.

One of the major works of art is the magnificent granite bridge that leads you into Vigelandsparken. The bridge is lined with fifty-eight life sized sculptures of men, women and children made entirely of bronze. Each bizarrely posed sculpture is said to depict the various stages of life. My personal favourite sculpture is the “Man attacked by babies” one. Hilarious, yet somewhat horrifying at the same time. Not only are the sculptures interesting to look at, but so are the people trying to mimic some of the poses as well. Vigelandsparken was also vandalized back in 2007, when a group of people decided to cover each exposed nipple, crotch and butt crack of the sculptures with a piece of black paper. Clearly that group of people need a hobby or something?!

As you continue to walk through the park, you’ll come across the large fountain that acts as a centrepiece to the walkway. This beautiful fountain is made up of white and black granite, which is adorned with sixty individual bronze sculptures. The six giant men sculptures are holding up the main vessel of the fountain that has flowing water cascading down on them. The meaning behind the fountain is that death comes to new life.

The Monolith and the Monolith Plateau were my absolute favourite part of the entire park, not to mention the most bizarre part as well. The main gate into the Monolith area is even designed in wrought iron with insanely beautiful details of the human form. The Plateau has a set of thirty-six groups of sculptures depicting the cycles of life and relationships. I think I spent an hour just walking around and observing the fine details of these sculptures. The details within the facial expressions and muscular anatomy is outstanding and mesmerizing. Vigeland sculpted the human form like no other sculptor and when you look at his work, they look as though they are actually posing in front of you, lifting each other up, pushing each other and climbing over one another. The massive Monolith stands approximately fifty-five feet tall and is the highest point of Vigelandsparken. It has a total of 121 intertwined human figures that are supporting and holding onto each other.

The extreme attention to detail on all of Gustav’s sculptures is truly breathtaking. From the muscle striations in the forearms, the furrowed brows on the faces and even the folds of skin on the back of the necks, one can see that Vigeland was definitely a master of his craft and a true artist. If you ever find yourself in Oslo, this park is a must see!

Would any of you consider visiting this park? Let me know in the comments below! xo

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