With the sketches you see in front of you, Alf Rolfsen won the competition to decorate Oslo’s Vestre Crematorium. The result was a poetic visual meditation on the cycle of life, explains National Museum curator Wenche Volle.
(Wenche Volle stands inside the chapel)
She is gazing at Rolfsen’s masterpiece in the chapel for which it was created.
Here we follow a couple through their lives. They plant a tree, build a house and have a child. The child takes its first steps and grows up.
Bishop Eivind Berggrav described the frescoes as “an arm of beauty and love around the grief-stricken”. So the images have a consolatory function.
And we are surrounded by the images in the room and become part of a larger whole.
One image shows parents witnessing their child’s first steps. In the background, we see two distinctive towers. This is Oslo City Hall, which you can also see through the window on the left. This is where Alf Rolfsen would complete his next commission – frescoes for three of the walls in the massive Central Hall.