Smack in the center of Frogner Park sits a vast expanse of humans made of bronze and granite, representing the many dances of the human condition.
Hugging, wrestling, and holding hands with children, this silent community symbolizes the most basic of our pursuits and behaviors, but some of the Vigeland Sculptures are a little more difficult to interpret. While it’s safe to assume the woman saddled with children on her back implies the burden of motherhood, the full grown man that seems to be either attacking or being attacked by four flailing infants is a bit more abstract.
When the City of Oslo was forced to relocate esteemed sculptor Gustav Vigeland from the live/work space they had been supplying him with, he and his work were provided a space at Nobels Gate, making him practically neighbors with Frogner Park. In gratitude, the artist agreed to donate any work that came out of his new studio to Oslo. This ended up being quite a body of work - by the time Vigeland was finished, the display had 212 sculptures, a fountain, and elaborate wrought iron gates depicting more of his humans doing human things.
Holding the record for being the largest sculpture park created by a single artist, Frogner Park’s Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement now spans across 80 acres. Many of the statues are acting out their destiny on a 328 foot bridge that covers the expanse between the Main Gate and The Fountain, a monument to death and rebirth portrayed by skeletons and children resting in the arms of trees.
The highest vantage point of the park and by far the most impressive and popular piece left by Vigeland is The Monolith. Over 46 ft. high and carved from a block of granite weighing 450 tons, the writhing totem of bodies took 13 years to complete, and consists of 121 humans building a tower to the heavens with their bodies.