The story of Theodor Kittelsen, the most mysterious and gloomy artist in NorwayBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/the-story-of-theodor-kittelsen-the-most-mysterious-and-gloomy-artist-in-norway
The whole world knows the graphic artist and illustrator Theodor Kittelsen from his drawings of mythological characters and considers him the creator of trolls — such as we now represent them. Troll figurines in Norway, made according to Kittelsen's drawings, are a popular souvenir among tourists.
Theodor Severin Kittelsen was born on April 27, 1857 in a town called Krager in the family of a merchant. He has been drawing since childhood. His father died early, and he had to start working to feed his brothers and sisters. The future artist worked as a painter's assistant, a watchmaker's assistant, and then met a wealthy philanthropist and art lover Diedrich Maria Olom. It was he who helped Kittelsen to enter an art school in the then capital of Norway, Kristiania. There, Theodore studied for two years, and then went to continue his education in Munich.
Kittelsen studied and painted pictures at the same time. Three years later, he began to have financial difficulties, as Ol could no longer financially support him. The sale of paintings did not bring much money, and connections with famous artists in Germany did not particularly help to feed themselves. At the age of 30, Theodore returned to Norway and never left for a long time again.
Two years later, the artist met a girl 10 years younger than him, and after some time they got married. Kittelsen drew illustrations to Norwegian fairy tales and myths, the nature of his native country, peasant life, as well as paintings on the theme of historical events in Europe.
Drawing inspiration from the nature of Norway, Theodor Kittelsen created several series of illustrations that formed the basis of his books. In such publications as "Witchcraft", "Life in straitened circumstances" and "From the Lofoten Islands", the artist not only became the author of illustrations, but also wrote the text.
In 1908, Kittelsen received the highest state award in Norway — the Order of St. Olaf. But, although his work was recognized and in demand, the artist lived in poverty and, despite his illness, worked until the last days of his life, trying to feed his family. He died on January 21, 1914, at the age of 56. He remains in the memory of the whole world as the author of the most mysterious, dark and surprisingly fascinating illustrations to Nordic folklore.