Thursday, February 2, 2012
Perhaps the photo I led with today can't be described as beautiful. Angry Boy is just one of the dozens of sculptures that populate Oslo's Vigeland Park, the world's largest sculpture park designed by a single artist. In the 1920s, noted sculptor Gustav Vigeland was granted a studio in exchange for his promise to donate all of his future work to the city, and Vigeland Park was the result.
The bridge that leads from the main gate to the fountains is lined by nearly sixty sculptures. Angry Boy is the most famous, his hand honed to a shine by the passersby who touch it for luck. (Anyone who has known a two year old is likely familiar with this pose.) Two of my favourite sculptures were Little Laughing Girl and Man Lifting Girl With One Arm, both pictured below. In this section of the park, Vigeland depicted people in relationships and showing emotions.
But the bridge was just the beginning. Once we crossed it, the park opened into an enormous fountain surrounded by more sculptures depicting the stages of life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.
The monolith behind the fountain is a 57 foot (17.4 metre) high statue carved from a single granite block. Vigeland took a year to carve a full-size replica in clay before tackling the granite. This sculpture depicts a writhing mass of humanity, all apparently struggling to get to the top. No Happy Little Girl here.
Almost as striking as the sculptures were the gardens and small fountains scattered throughout the park.
We spent a couple of hours strolling through this glorious park, admiring Vigeland's artwork. It was truly one of the highlights of Oslo!