Thursday's Child: Vigeland Park, Oslo

Thursday, February 2, 2012
We've visited some great museums on our travels, but we've also seen beautiful art in unexpected places.  This month I'm going to share some of the wonderful outdoor art we've seen.

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!

27 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

Wow. That is an amazing monolith. And yes, I've seen the angry boy look A LOT!

I'm always amazed by all the places you've been.

Gloria said...

Asolutely nice pictures and sculptures, the angry boy make me smile and love little laughing girl:)
Thanks by sharing

Mary said...

The angry boy totally makes me laugh. That monolith is so sad!

Thanks for the peek into your travels! Have a fabulous day, Beth.

cookingmisadventures.com said...

Norway is definitely on our list of places to get to - a big part of Hubs and my heritage. I would love to visit this park. (And yes, the angry boy so reminds me of my two year old!)

Jess said...

What a wonderful place to visit! Makes me really see how public art benefits society :) I've always wanted to go to Oslo, ever since reading Roald Dahl's autobiography Boy, and his mention of a grandmother in Oslo.

LDH said...

Amazing collection of sculptures and fountains! Thanks for a peek at Oslo!

Bonnie said...

Each sculpture is amazing. I love the laughing child. I can just imagine a young child being over taken by a belly laugh. Hugs. Bonnie

Barbara Jean said...

Yikes! That angry baby is something else. I wonder why touching his hand is supposed to be good luck? I would think one of the more cheerful sculptures would be lucky! :)

Joanne said...

Interesting how passersby touch the boy's hand for luck. Oh the magic draw of art ...

Valerie said...

What beautifully, unusual sculptures! (I often strike the same pose as Angry Boy when my cakes fail to come out of their pans.)

Beth said...

Me too, Valerie!

Elaine said...

What a fascinating park that must be to see in person! I love the laughing girl sculpture, but I think I love the photo of your daughters holding hands the most.

Beth said...

I really like that photo too, Elaine! They're such sweet girls and good friends.

yummychunklet said...

What cute temper-tantrum children statues!

Belinda said...

What fascinating sculptures! Scandinavian countries really know how to do it.

Angie's Recipes said...

Fascinating! My favourite would be the opening one..Angry Boy...so vivid.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

What a wonderful post! Oslo in on my list of places to visit soon... and it's funny that you opened your post with a picture of the Angry Boy. When I was little and my dad went to Oslo on a business trip he sent me a postcard of that very same statue :)

Rita said...

Fantastic!So much talent here. Thank you for sharing Olso with us.
Rita

Aarthi said...

They look amazing

Aarthi
http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL I'm not even sure what to say about those.

I would love to go to Olso. Norway is the one Scandinavian country I haven't been to.

Pam said...

They are all excellent sculptures.

Carol said...

These are fantastic sculptures. What a wonderful place to visit!

Claudia said...

I love sculpture parks - there's something so winsome about art and nature living together. The theme of this park is so beautiful - and how grand to have it all by one artist.

Charlie Holmberg said...

Writhing mass of humanity. Nice. ;)

Miriam said...

You've been to some very interesting places :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! What an amazing talent! Thanks for sharing :)

bakewithjill.com said...

I love fountains, so I think they'd be the highlight of my visit, but Angry Boy is pretty fun too!

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