Museums and Art

“Sea Troll”, Theodor Kittelsen - description of the painting

“Sea Troll”, Theodor Kittelsen - description of the painting

Sea Troll - Theodor Kittelsen.

Scandinavian legends often mention magical creatures - forest, mountain or sea trolls. While walking in the forest or along the seashore, anyone can meet them if he carefully looks around.

Until now, in the Scandinavian countries, local residents tell many stories about such meetings. Fishermen Johan Persa and Elias Niels caught a sea bull in the sea. He was so scary that Elias spat in his mouth and threw him into the sea. Suddenly, in front of his eyes, the fish turned into a terrible monster. Severin Kittelsen described this moment in one of his early drawings made in the north of Norway.

The first thing that immediately catches your eye in the picture is a lonely bird flying to the shore. The wind drives gloomy low clouds. Big waves crash with crash on the harsh and gloomy cliffs. A recognizable picture of harsh Norwegian nature.

But it is worth looking a little to the side and you feel fear. A terrible sea troll rises from the seething sea in a whirl of foam. Saliva runs from a huge open mouth, dotted with frequent sharp teeth. A flattened nose draws in moist air with noise. Little evil eyes squint, carefully looking for their victim. You can even hear the ominous roar of a monster. A storm wind ruffles wet shaggy wool, in which seaweed is tangled. Paws with spread fingers are still pressed to the body, but at any moment they are ready to grab the fish. It is not surprising that a man was afraid of such a monster.

The monochrome design gives it an amazing expressiveness. The cruel and evil troll seems to be an absolutely real creature, the same as rocks and the sea.

The mysterious and magical world of northern traditions reveals to us the artist. I want to consider the drawing again, despite the feeling of fear somewhere deep inside.


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