How can something so totally unique and incredible be so underreported? When Ron found the Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park (aka Frogner Park) in our Oslo Pass book, it was enticing. What we did not expect was to be blown away with the expansive amount of art. Admission to the park is free. Entry to the park is a work of art unto itself. There are exquisite metalwork gates.
Beyond the gates, you approach a bridge lined on both sides with dozens of statues of men, women, and children: all are nudes in various poses. These lead to additional statues within a fountain, then the ultimate statue, the Monolith. What you are witness to is a 14 meter (over 45 feet) high sculpture of 121 nude bodies intertwined.
Gustav Vigeland, the artist of all of this magnificent art struck a deal with the Oslo government back in 1921. When the city wanted to tear down his home, a lucrative compromise was created for both sides. The city was to build Vigeland a dedicated museum, workshop, and allow him to continue to live in his home. In return, he promised to donate all of his work including statues, models, drawings, sketches that were produced from then on.
Some have criticized his work as having “fascist aesthetics”, which I can understand. There were many pieces where I felt a resemblance to works in Memento Park in Budapest, but the exception here is Vigeland’s work consists of almost all nudes. Only after a couple of hours of looking at the work did we learn that there are 121 statues; all of them are In addition to the statues, his work in metal craft is abundantly apparent on the grounds. Honestly, I found this as interesting, if not more so than some of the statues.
Aside from the art, the park itself is glorious with large spans of green grass and plenty of trees; some have leaves turning autumnal shades of red, yellow, and orange. This is the world’s largest statue park. We separated, but after a bit more than an hour, we found our way back to each other. While on the grounds, we took in the museum as well. Admission is NOK 60 for adults and NOK 30 for seniors (+67), but free entry with the Oslo Pass. Much of the museum exhibits are models of the statues outside. There were some new pieces, but not that many. Still, it was interesting to be able to get close up to the work.
I failed to mention earlier the cost of public transportation. For one trip, an adult ticket is 30 NOK and the senior (over 67) is 15 NOK.
From the park, we made our way back to the waterfront. Hopping onto a ferry, we made our way to the Fram Museum. The centerpiece of the museum is of course the world´s strongest wooden ship, the polar ship Fram. The public can go on board and take a look around in her cabins, lounges, cargo hold and engine room. In the Gjøa building is where you will find the Gjøa, the first ship to navigate the whole of the Northwest Passage.
Unfortunately, we were greeted with the information that the museum was to close in 40 minutes. However, the fortunate part was that with the Oslo Pass, we were allowed multiple entries for the duration of our pass. We knew we would return.