Monolith of bodies

When the City of Oslo demolished Gustav Vigeland’s house, they offered him a new one. In exchange, he promised all of his future artwork to the city. For the next twenty years he created 212 remarkable sculptures.

Vigeland
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
All 212 are on display at the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement (Vigelandsanlegget) in Frogner Park in Oslo. The sculptures are lifelike naked people in all manner of unusual poses: a man throwing off a cluster of children, people hunched over or piled up on top of each other, a huge crying baby stomping his feet.

The most notable of all the sculptures is his Monolith, a 14 metre high sculpture carved from a single block of granite. More than a hundred human figures piled on top of (and climbing over) each other, it’s startling and audacious.

Vigeland himself is a divisive figure. His work has been described as having a fascist aesthetic; on the other hand, he also designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal.

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