Vigeland Park, Oslo, Norway: Part Three, The Monolith

I hope you have been following along as we walk through Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway! We are now making our way to the Monolith………It is huge and I can’t wait to see it up close!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, View of Monolith From The Wheel Of Life

This area is named the Monolith Plateau. It is the highest point of sculpture in the park rising, 394 feet by 197 feet, and is reached by three ascending terraces. There are eight entrances to the plateau featuring, The Figural Gates in wrought iron, which I have talked about in a previous post. In the center of the plateau, circular stairs, rise toward the Monolith. Placed in radiating rows are 26 groups of granite, and as in the Fountain, the theme is the Cycle of Life. At the topmost stair level, facing the fountain, is a compact group of children. Going clockwise, to the bottom, the plateau figure granites end with a group of lifeless bodies. These two groups mark the end of the life cycle in which Humankind is depicted in a variety of typical human situations and relationships. Every sculpture includes at least two figures and human relationships. The figures are not over 6.5 feet, but they are over life-size in scale. Some of the children stand, but all adults kneel or sit, firmly anchored to the plinth. Their huge and solid forms convey an earthbound human race.

The Monolith Column consists of 121 figures and was modeled by Vigeland from 1924-1925. It is carved from a single block of granite stone.The figural part is 46.3 feet high and total height with the plinth is 56.7 feet. The stone was quarried from a mountain at Iddelfjorden, Norway, and weighs 180 tons. It was carved at its present site, where a shed was built to cover the stone and the full-size plaster model. Three stone carvers worked on the column daily, from 1929 to 1943! Although, a skilled carver himself, Vigeland did not sculpt directly in granite. He modeled the sculptures in full size in plaster, and let the professional artists do all the time consuming work of transferring the original models to stone. The Monolith was the last completed piece before Vigeland’s  death in 1943.

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, View of Sundial and Monolith

Getting closer………….

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, View of Sundial and Monolith From The Wheel Of Life

Up close……..the Monolith column is completely covered by human figures in relief, singly or in groups. At the bottom, are inert bodies. Above them figures ascend in a spiral. The movement halts midway and then rises at a faster pace towards the summit, which is covered by small children. As the figures rise they curve and finally ebb away. Many of the figures seem to drift unconsciously upwards and others are active. Some struggle not to fall and others lift and support each other. Just like real life!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Monolith Close-up

from a different side…….

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Monolith Close-up

and looking up from ground level!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Monolith

And, a closer look up, from the ground!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Monolith

Then moving around the plateau clockwise, I will start with the Swarm of Babies and although not showing all the 26 groups, will show at least one from every stage in life…………

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Swarm the Babies

The Swarm up close!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Swarm Of Babies

The Young Adults………

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Man Throwing Woman and Man Kneeling Behind Woman Embracing Her
Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Man Kneeling Behind Woman Embracing Her

The Mom and Kids………

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Boy And Girl Riding On Woman’s Back

Another view, so you can see more Kids in the background………

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Boy And Girl Riding On Woman’s Back

The Young and the Old……

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Elderly Man And Smiling Young Woman
Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Old Woman Laying Her Hand On The Shoulder Of Young Man Who Is Looking Away

The Old Folks………..

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Old Woman Comforting Old Woman
Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Old Woman Resting Against Old Man

The Sundial……..can be found as you walk up to the plateau of the Monolith………It is mounted on a 12-sided granite pedestal, featuring circular reliefs of the zodiac. It was completed in 1930.

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Sundial
Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Sundial

Walking up the hill (all those steps in the Featured Photo) past the Monolith, is the final sculpture in this area. It is the Wheel of Life (1933-1934) Four adult figures and three children are linked together in a circle around a void. The group appears to be rotating. The continued theme of human dependance is compressed into one single final sculpture!

Oslo, Norway, Vigeland Sculpture Park, The Wheel Of Life

I hope you have enjoyed the Monolith section of Vigeland Park! We will be headed back down the hill and out of the park, but I have more adventures I want to share with you from Oslo! See you there! Cady

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Exquisite is what comes to mind . The photos were fabulously clicked and I absolutely loved this walk and a chance to admire the monolith up close.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. restlessjo says:

    It’s an extraordinary thing, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing, and happy birthday!

    Like

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