The art in Frogner Park

Browsing the net for “where to go next,” I chanced upon an eye-catching image of statues on a green expanse. The park is in Oslo and little did I know that I would end up standing before these magnificent artworks that mirrors human emotions.

The 45-hectare green expanse is the Frogner Park (Frognerparken) in the borough of Frogner. Made public in 1896, this is the largest park and the most popular tourist attraction in Norway receiving an annual visitor count of about two million.

The name of the borough and park was derived from the manor in the South side of the park, the Frogner Manor, which also houses the Oslo City Museum. The Park also holds a bath (Frognerbadet), a stadium, a pond, and the most popular section at the park’s present center, which many erroneously refer to as the “Vigeland Park.”

Maybe because it’s the section (perhaps, the only) most of us would see when visiting the Frogner Park that it was eventually lead to be called the “Vigeland Sculpture Park.” Vigeland is not a park but the name of the art arrangement in Frogner Park.

Originally called the Tortberg installation, the 1920-commenced installation of the sculptures by artist Gustav Vigeland is world famous. It is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist.

Vigeland’s section occupies more than 2/3 of the park size, or 32 hectares. A total of 212 granite and bronze statues sculpted in the Human Condition theme are exhibited, most of which are placed in five units along an 850-meter long axis starting with the monumental Main Gate forged of granite and wrought iron.

Second, the Bridge with 58 sculptures including the most adorable and perhaps the most popular— the Angry Boy (Sinnataggen), a boy having a temper tantrum. At its end is the Children's playground 8 bronze statues of children at play.

Third, the Fountain of bronze, which projects “from death comes new life,” is surrounded with 60 bronze reliefs of humans in tree branches.

Fourth, the Monolith plateau sits on the highest point of the park and the most popular attraction. At its center is the 14.12-meter tower carved from a single block, which took 14 years for 3 carvers to finish.

The composition is of 121 embracing human figures rising towards the sky with a single purpose—to get closer with the spiritual and divine. Surrounding the monolith are 36 figure groups extending a “circle of life” message.

Fifth, the 1933-crafted Wheel of Life lies at the end of the axis. The wheel is a wreath of four adults, a child and a baby, which symbolizes man’s journey from “the cradle to the grave”, the overall theme of the Vigeland installation.

My leisurely stroll in the park took several hours off my very short visit in Oslo, which didn’t even include seeing the Manor. Why? Because I was like a kid at play enjoying the sculptures across the park. It was worth every minute of the visit.

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