Oslo Rådhus

The next place we’re visiting in our virtual tour is Oslo, Norway’s Rådhus (City Hall), the construction of which was begun in the 1930s but had to be postponed for several years due to World War II. Thus, the building was completed and opened for business in 1950. It features a number of artworks both on the inside and on the outside.  We’ll start inside, in the Rådhus lobby, on the walls of which are at least three very large murals, though only one of these features young girls.  First, here is a large-scale view of the lobby.  On the back wall can be seen the mural we are to examine, painted by Willi Midelfart.

willi-midelfart-mural-oslo-city-hall-1950-5

Oslo Rådhus lobby

Here’s a full view of the mural. As you can see, it is a classical-style scene of rural families lounging and playing outdoors, or what is commonly called an idyll in the art world. Frequently the figures in these scenes are nude, as is the case here.  The mural has some nice Fauvist color values.

Willi Midelfart - Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (1)

Willi Midelfart – Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (1)

Willi Midelfart - Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (2)

Willi Midelfart – Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (2)

Willi Midelfart - Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (3)

Willi Midelfart – Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (3)

I love that a mural in a government building not only has naked kids in it, but that one of those kids is actually urinating:

Willi Midelfart - Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (4)

Willi Midelfart – Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (4)

Willi Midelfart - Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (5)

Willi Midelfart – Mural, Oslo Rådhus (1950) (5)

And now we move on to the exterior of the building, onto the city hall grounds (Rådhusplassen), where, among the sculptural work, is Per Hurum’s “Mor og barn” (“Mother and Children”).  It can be seen below at about the middle of the photo.  The building behind it is, of course, the  Rådhus itself.  It’s builders struck a nice balance between the modern solidly geometric architecture of the structure and the softer and more traditional bits of ornamentation.

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (1)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (1)

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (2)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (2)

Here we can see it from the other side, facing the waterfront:

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (3)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (3)

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (4)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (4)

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (5)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (5)

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (6)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (6)

Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (7)

Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (7)

 Per Hurum - Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (8)


Per Hurum – Mor og barn (Rådhusplassen, Oslo, Norway) (8)

Comments:

From Rev. Benjamin M. Root IV on January 22, 2012
Why are cultures from the coldest climates often the most comfortable with nudism/naturalism? Socio-politically progressive too.

Shooting photos of European outdoor sculpture is quite frustrating (in my experience), the mind’s eye can see the beauty and the shape. But the camera often just captures dark bronze blobs with streaks of pigeon poop and water stains.

From pipstarr72 on January 24, 2012
I assume you mean Western cultures with the coldest climates seem to be the most comfortable with nudism and naturism. Remember, there are still plenty of tribal cultures where nudity is common. That does appear to be true in general, although it’s not universal (Canada is a pretty cold climate and I don’t think they are particularly more inclined towards naturism than the United States is.) But I don’t know; that’s a good question.

One thought on “Oslo Rådhus

  1. I am not sure if the dominant division is actually between the North and the South. Considering Western Europe, it is true that in the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the Netherlands the attitude about social nudity and naturism is much more liberal than, for example, in Italy, Greece or Portugal. On the other hand, British people in general seem much more reserved in this respect, Irish are one of the most conservative and prudish nations in all Europe, while in Spain the naturism gain popularity. In the southern coast of France you can find numerous nude beaches and naturists resorts; both in France and in Spain women sunbathing topless are perfectly legal on every beach and rather a norm than an exception.

    It is even more complicated in the Eastern Europe, where the 1968 movement had a completely different form, mostly aimed against the strict Soviet regime and the freedom of speech; feminism, LGBT rights, the normalization of contraception and abortion, legalization of pornography and sexual liberation appeared to be much less considered during the protests in the countries were freedom and human rights were violated. Interestingly, even in the Eastern bloc the tolerance toward naturism vary from country to country. At the Baltic sea in Eastern Germany naked and topless people were mixing freely with beach-goers in swimming suits and Czechoslovakia was (the Czech Republic still is) one of the most liberated countries regarding public and social nudity. There were also many nude beaches in Bulgaria and Romania. On the other hand, in Poland and Lithuania people are much more conservative and even today topless women cannot go freely in the public beaches in these countries (nude beaches exist there, but in a very limited number).

    To sum up, the issue of being comfortable with naturism depends on various factors, but doubt the climate is one of them. General mentality of people, religion, education or history are much more significant in my opinion.

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