Norway (Day 2, Part 2)

June 19

Oslo

When last we left you, we were heading back down the mountain from Holmenkollen . . .

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[And this is our next destination, Frogner Park, which will be the focus of the rest of this blog . . . ]

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[Frogner Park is a public park located in the borough of Frogner and is historically part of Frogner Manor.  The manor house is located in the south of the park, and houses the Oslo City Museum.  Both the park, the entire borough of Frogner as well as Frognerseteren derive their names from Frogner Manor (Wikipedia).]

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[Frogner Park contains, in its present centre, the well-known ‘Vigeland installation’ (‘Vigelandsanlegget’),  a permanent sculpture installation created by Gustav Vigeland between 1924 and 1943.  Although sometimes incorrectly referred to in English as the “Vigeland (Sculpture) Park,” the Vigeland installation is not a separate park, but the name of the sculptures within Frogner Park.  The sculpture park consists of sculptures as well as larger structures such as bridges and fountains (Wikipedia).]

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[Helen organizes her troops for the assault on the park . . . ]

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[Frogner Park is the largest park in the city and covers 45 hectares; the sculpture installation is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Frogner Park is the most popular tourist attraction of Norway, with between 1 and 2 million visitors each year, and is open to the public at all times.  ‘Frogner Park and the Vigeland installation’ (‘Frognerparken og Vigelandsanlegget’) was protected under the Heritage Act on 13 February 2009 as the first park in Norway (Wikipedia).]

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[The sculpture area in Frogner Park covers 80 acres and features 212 bronze and granite sculptures, all designed by Gustav Vigeland.  The Bridge was the first part to be opened to the public, in 1940.  The Bridge forms a 100 metre (328 ft)-long, 15 metre (49 ft)-wide connection between the Main Gate and the Fountain, lined with 58 sculptures, including one of the park’s more popular statues, Angry Boy (Sinnataggen).  Visitors could enjoy the sculptures while most of the park was still under construction.  At the end of the bridge lies the Children’s Playground, a collection of eight bronze statues showing children at play (Wikipedia).]

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[The Monolith is the above photo and the background of the below photo . . . ]

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[Time for the cutesy-touristy photo . . . ]

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[The Vigeland installation’s granite and wrought iron Main Gate also serves as the eastern entrance to Frogner Park from Kirkeveien.  From there an 850 m (2,790 ft) long axis leads west through the Bridge to the Fountain and the Monolith, and ends with the Wheel of Life.  The Main Gate consists of five large gates, two small pedestrian gates and two copper-roofed gate houses, both adorned with weather vanes.  The Monolith Plateau is a platform in the north of Frogner Park made of steps that houses the Monolith totem itself.  36 figure groups reside on the elevation, representing a “circle of life” theme. Access to the Plateau is via eight wrought iron gates depicting human figures. The gates were designed between 1933 and 1937 and erected shortly after Vigeland died in 1943.  At the highest point in Frogner Park lies the park’s most popular attraction, the Monolith (‘Monolitten’).  The name derives from the Latin word monolithus, from the Greek μονόλιθος (monolithos), μόνος meaning “one” or “single” and λίθος “stone”, and in this case is a genuine monolith, being fabricated from one piece of solid stone.  Construction of the massive monument began in 1924 when Gustav Vigeland modelled it in clay in his studio in Frogner.  The design process took ten months, and it is supposed that Vigeland used sketches drafted in 1919.  A model was then cast in plaster.  In the autumn of 1927 a block of granite weighing several hundred tons was delivered to the park from a quarry in Halden.  It was erected a year later and a wooden shed was built around it to keep out the elements.  Vigeland’s plaster model was erected next to it for reference.  Transferring the design began in 1929 and took three masons 14 years to accomplish.  The Monolith was first shown to the public at Christmas 1944, and 180,000 people crowded into the wooden shed to get a close look at the creation.  The shed was demolished shortly afterwards.  The Monolith towers 14.12 metres (46.32 ft) high and is composed of 121 human figures rising towards the sky (Wikipedia).]

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[The 850-meter axis from the Iron Main Gate through the Bridge to the Fountain and the Monolith, ending with the Wheel of Life . . . ]

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[Smooth as a baby’s bottom . . . ]

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[The Circle of Life beginning above and circling around . . . ]

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[The Wheel of Life . . . ]

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[Am I intruding?]

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[Moving from the Monolith to the fountain . . . ]

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[Helen checks to see who’s missing.  Old people tend to wander away . . . ]

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[And what the Super shot . . . ]

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[And photo-bombed by tour guide Helen.]

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[Around the fountain base . . . ]

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[The struggle between good and evil . . . ]

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[Rear view to the fountain . . . ]

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[Moving forward onto the bridge . . . ]

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[Angry Boy . . . ]

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[(Or why I never had kids) . . . ]

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[Gustav Vigeland (11 April 1869 – 12 March 1943), born as Adolf Gustav Thorsen, was a Norwegian sculptor.  Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity.  He is most associated with the Vigeland installation in Frogner Park.  He was also the designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal (Wikipedia).]

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[Leaving the park, exiting stage center to the bus . . . ]

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[Ha det!]

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[Next, same day, we’re going to catch up with Edvard Munch . . . ]

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I gained a sense of why Grieg was so touched by the wistful, elegiac folk music of Norway, and what he meant when he said self-effacingly that his music had a ‘taste of cod’ about it.
~  Anthony Tommasini

Up Next: Finishing up Day 2

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