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Panorama picture from Oslo Municipality in Norway




THE MONOLITH

On the highest point of the Sculpture Park, on the Monolith Plateau, rise circular stairs towards the Monolith. The figural part, with 121 figures, is 14,12 metres and the total height, including the plinth, is 17,3 metres high. The Monolith was carved from one single granite block, hence the name (mono: one, litho: stone). Whereas the melancholy theme in the fountain is the eternal life cycle, the column gives room to a totally different interpretation: Man´s longing and yearning for the spiritual and divine. Is the column to be understood as man´s resurrection? The people are drawn towards heaven, not only characterised by sadness and controlled despair, but also delight and hope, next to a feeling of togetherness, carefully holding one another tight in this strange sense of salvation.

The first smaller sketches to a giant column dates 1919. Gustav Vigeland modelled it in full size in clay in his new studio at Frogner in 1924 and 1925. It only took him ten months. Thereafter it was cast in plaster. The autumn of 1926 a granite block weighing hundreds of tons was transported by sea up the Oslofjord from a stone quarry near Halden. The block arrived its destination in the early 1927 and was erected the year after. A shed was built around the stone and the plaster model was installed next to it. In 1929 the transferring of the figures could begin. It took three stone carvers 14 years to finish the work. In 1943 the last part of the column's plaster model could finally be dismantled and carried back to the Vigeland Museum, where it still can be admired. Before the shed was demolished, around Christmas1944, the public was allowed in. Almost 180.000 visitors climbed the shed´s steep steps to study the result closely.

THE MONOLITH PLATEAU

In 1947 the installation of the 36 figure groups on the Monolith Plateau began. Vigeland started the work on these granite groups around the first world war and finished them in 1936. As in the Fountain, the principal theme is the cycle of life in which Man is depicted in a variety of typical human situations and relationships. Access to the Monolith plateau is via eight figural gates in wrought iron. These gates, depicting Man in all ages, were designed between 1933 and 1937, whereas the execution was not finished until after the death of the artist. The gates were installed in 1952. In the outskirts of the park Vigeland imagined a number of figural gates. These were however never completed due to the death of the artist.