A day of no rain! The usual no. 83 bus into town, a quick coffee at our favorite of the chains, Kaffebrenneriet, and the the no. 12 tram to Frognerparken. We weren’t really sure what to expect; vague thoughts of “sculpture park” and mental pictures of lots of contemporary works by a variety of artists. Wrong!
Once we got our bearings and headed into Frognerparken, the first thing we ran across was this monument to Abraham Lincoln presented to the people of Norway by the state of North Dakota in 1914.
Then came Vigeland Park, the centerpiece of Frognerparken, with its multitude (212 according to the guidebook) of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and often referred to as Norway’s best-loved sculptor. The sculptures seem to represent the braod array of human emotions, but are also shown in movement with energy that defies the bronze material, and the human experience. The awe induced by the art and setting, along with the many families out enjoying a beautiful day in a jewel of the city of Oslo, made for an unforgettable outing.
But of course there was more! Just outside the park in the stately surrounding neighborhood is the Vigeland Museum, in what was Gustav Vigeland’s studio while he worked on the scupltures for the park. I hate to say that I had never heard of Vigeland before today, but I developed a real appreciation for his work and how complicated the process was. The museum itself is a lovely space and pays due homage to Vigeland’s talent.
Finally, capped off a full day with a delicious dinner at the Oslo Opera House restaurant with new friends.
Tomorrow is our last full day here in Oslo; I am sure we will find something exciting to do!
It was a grey, wet morning and I didn’t think we’d leave the cabin today, but I’m glad we did. One bus and one subway and voila, the Munch-museet. The line to get into the museum was long and slow. I thought maybe it was the popularity of the exhibition Van Gogh + Munch, but then we realized that the hold-up was a thorough security check between ticketing and the entrance proper. I’ve never been through a metal detector to get into a museum! Has there been an incident there in the past that spurred this? I don’t mind; as a museum employee myself I do understand the need for vigilance in protecting the art. Thankfully, the cafe sold us coffee to savor while we waited in line.
The exhibition was an interesting juxtaposition of the lives and work of two enigmatic painters. I am not sure why Munch is best known for Skrit (The Scream) as he was a proific artist who worked in a number of styles over the years. I love seeing van Gogh’s early drawings and studies. I think it is sometimes forgotten what a good draughtsman he was and the sombre nature of his work prior to his time in sunny France.
After a rather expensive lunch in the touristy area around the Nationaltheatret (National Theater) and a walk past the Oslo Konserthus (Concert House; closed for the summer), we made it to the Ibsen Museet, which includes an interestingly modern adaptation of a historic space for museum exhibitions and a tour of the restored apartment upstairs where Henrik Ibsen spent the last years of his life and wrote his last 2 plays. The rotating exhibition space was titled Ibsen + Lennon, showcasing Ibsen’s influence on The Beatles, John Lennon in particular (including his round eye glasses and mutton chop sideburns).
And when we left, it was still grey and wet outside. Ah, summer in Oslo!
We spent a well worthwhile day traipsing around the open-air Norsk Folkesmuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History) in the Bygdoy area of Oslo. Over 160 buildings from various parts of the country have been relocated to the museum site, and represent life in Norway from 1200 to the present. My favorite was the tenement building with apartments each restored to a different period in the building’s history, based on real residents of the building over time. And of course I loved the farm areas, with the cows,horses, pigs, chickens. They all looked like they were having a pretty good life, unlike on a real working farm! The 13th century stave church is possibly the centerpiece of the exhibitions. To top it all off, the museum cafe was quite nice as well, open and airy and modern yet obviously based on traditional rustic architecture. And they have good coffee.
Just down the street is the Viking Ship Museum, its simple, elegant white building the perfect setting for the archaeological finds of 3 Viking ship burials in Norway.