Among the sculptures in the Sculpture Park the Fountain has the longest history. The idea of a monumental bronze fountain had occupied the mind of the artist since the turn of the century. A sketch in plaster, that resembles today's fountain, attracted great enthusiasm when exhibited in 1906. The municipality of Oslo commissioned the fountain for the square in front of the Parliament (Eidsvolls Plass). This location was later rejected. Perhaps it could be erected on the top of a hill in the public gardens of the Royal Palace? Around the first world war Vigeland enlarged his fountain project with a number of large granite groups. And in 1919 an enormous granite column also had become part of the plan.
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 was not until 1924, when the city left the Frogner fields to Vigeland, that the fountain found its final location. Some changes were made from the original sketch. The tree groups were drawn together towards the corners of the parapet and the six giants that carry the enormous vessel were given a taller and hence a more monumental outlook. The 20 tree groups were all modelled between 1906 and 1914. Beneath the crown of the trees the life of man, from cradle to grave, unfolds. Our time on earth is at the same time only a part of an eternal cycle with no beginning and no end. After the tree group with the skeleton which is about to decay in nature, follows a tree full of children: From death arises new life.
The bronze reliefs along the outer side of the pool render the eternal life cycle of mankind. Due to the long time it took get the fountain installed, Vigeland constantly formed new relieves. In 1936 totally 112 had been made, 60 of which were used. In 1947 the installing of the fountain was finally finished. The ground around the fountain Vigeland has formed as an 1800 square meter mosaic in black and white granite. The geometrical pattern shapes an almost 3000 meter long labyrinth.