Theodor Kittelsen  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Theodor Severin Kittelsen (April 27, 1857January 21, 1914) was a Norwegian artist born in the coastal town of Kragerø in Norway. He is famous for his nature paintings, as well as for his illustrations of fairy tales and legends, especially of trolls.

For a time, Kittelsen studied painting and watchmaking. When his talent was discovered by Diderich Maria Aall, he attended classes at the School of Art in Christiania (the present Oslo).

Because of generous financial support by Aall he was able to continue his study in Munich. However, in 1879 Diderich Aall could no longer manage to support him, so Kittelsen had to earn his money as a draughtsman for German papers and magazines. When back in Norway, he found nature to be a great inspiration. Kittelsen started to write texts to his drawings here.

In 1881, Kittelsen was hired to illustrate Norwegian fairy-tales by the Norwegian folklore collector Peter Christen Asbjørnsen.

His style could be classified between (Neo-)Romantic and naive painting. As a national artist he is highly respected and well known in Norway, but doesn't receive much international attention, which is the reason that his name is hardly registered in registers of painters.

Black metal bands such as Burzum have used nearly all of his pictures as album art, notably illustrations taken from Kittelsen's book Svartedauen (The Black Death).


Books illustrated by Theodor Kittelsen

  • Fra Livet i de smaa Forholde I-II (1889-1890)
  • Fra Lofoten I-II (1890-1891)
  • Troldskab (1892)
  • Glemmebogen (1892)
  • "Har dyrene Sjæl?" (1894)
  • Kludesamleren (1894)
  • Im Thierstaate (1896)
  • Ordsprog (1898)
  • Svartedauen (1900)
  • Billeder og Ord (1901)
  • Folk og trold. Minder og drømme (1911)
  • Soria Moria slot (1911)
  • Løgn og forbandet digt (1912)
  • "Heimskringla" (1914)

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