Visiting World’s largest Sculpture park was a breathtaking experience. In fact, Norway’s Frognerparken, commonly known as the Vigeland Park, is a sculptural paradise that cannot be matched. What’s more surprising is, that this place full of wonderful statuettes was chiselled out by just one man – the Gustav Vigeland. Back in the early 20th-century, little did Vigeland know that he was carving a new future for Oslo. Not only, was he, turning the 17th-century baroque garden into a large public park, but also, offering the world a chance to admire his life’s work. Which is why, it’s important that you keep aside one whole day to be able to admire each one of the sculptures, fountains and garden embellishments.
Believe it or not, Oslo has set aside 80 acres as designated space for the Frognerparken. Rather, the city administration has preserved the park, as it is, since the late seventeenth century. I caught the first glimpse of this gigantic park from behind its enormous iron gate. At first, it was a brief look at a tower-alike sculpture, further expanding into a vision of surrounding garden scapes. As soon as, I crossed the gate and walked inside, I saw a large well-manicured garden laid with hundreds of sculptures. To be precise, there are 212 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Each illustrating human psychology and behaviour.
I went on to observe these fascinating sculptures for a long length of time. Part of which had me leisurely wander around the gorgeous fountains. Amongst all the marvellous sculptures, the Monolith and the Wheel of Life drew me into its fold. Monolith is a 46.32 ft tall tower-sculpture carved out of a single granite block. it is also the highest point of the park. Weighing hundreds of tonnes, this towering sculpture features 121 interweaved figurines. Legends have it that the tower of Monolith is rising towards heaven. It took 14 years to complete this masterpiece. The Wheel of Life, on the other hand, highlights the continuation of life. Encased, in a circular block of granite, this sculpture talks about an eternal lifecycle in harmony.
Walk further, and you will come across fountains surrounded by sculptures and 20 trees depicting the four crucial stages of life. The stages being childhood, adulthood, parenthood and old age. The last tree with a skeleton symbolises death and afterlife. Apart from the luring trail of remarkable sculptures, Vigeland Park is also lined with lush trees and fringed walkways. While you are here, do take a walk to the 17th-century Manor, Pavilion, Stadium, Frogner Pond and the Frogner Baths. On the whole, Frognersparken is a grand tribute to Gustav Vigeland, reflecting his artistic journey on one canvas. What’s even more amazing is that Vigeland is also the man who designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal.
What more, these permanent installations by Gustav Vigeland are free to visit. In 2009, on February 13th (which is also my birthday) this long axis ‘Frognerparken’ was listed as Norway’s first ‘protected’ Heritage site. And why not? Gustav Vigeland has laid an extraordinary work of art for you to observe and admire. It totally deserves to be protected and to be visited by each one of us.