Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Norway: Madonna and Angry Boy

Sculptures everywhere – that is one impression of Norway. 

Before driving back to their home in Oslo from the mountain cabin, Oystein and Liv treated me to a very long hike up a mountain to the Madonna. It’s a curious anomoly to have a Catholic icon in a Lutheran country. Even more curious is that much of the path-work was built by Nepalese Buddhist  Sherpas. Really??? The laying of the flat stones resembles a mosaic, a work of art. 

It was a wonderful hike up 3.1 km (but lots of up and down that isn’t counted) and a rise of 140 m. Most of it was above tree line. Lichens, reindeer mosses (that the reindeer eat in the winter), cloudberries, blue berries and crow berries.

The views from the hike were an inspiration themselves for artistic creation!

And the Madonna and child were worth it! Lovely, curved soft... and the child looks up to her.

And everywhere in Oslo are more sculptures. 

The Opera House is one enormous modern sculpture.

Does it resemble an ice-berg perched by the water? You can walk on its roof! 
See the very interesting interior. 

And the sculpture of a ship-wreck in the harbor in front!

But the most famous, the most impressive and the most visited is Vigeland Sculpture Park. 

I can’t do it justice, folks. I love most that it is by one man and that his love of the human form unifies the 212 scultures into one theme. The gates, fountains, the individual granite forms and the monolith depict men, women and children in all relationships and all ages. The 14 meter high Monolith  was carved from one piece of granite with 121 intertwined figures and topped by  scrambling babies (for life, for the divine?) Enjoy!

The most famous individual work is that of the Angry Boy. 

I don’t know why—I don’t see too many angry Norwegians, but his hand has been burnished bright by the touching of admirers.

From life to stone, from stone to life.

Indeed, while having a coffee with Oystein in a cafe afterwards my relationship with the human form had changed, at least for awhile. Every attitude, ever gesture, every combination of people in the cafe was a potential subject waiting to be sculpted from the bountiful beautiful stone of Norway.

And I'm learning so much from this country -- its gorgeous scenery, sane society, kind people, delicious food, the profound emphasis on family life -- indeed how they have carved a marvelous country from the sometimes unfriendly elements of stone and water.

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