Theodor Severin Kittelsen is an artist, book illustrator and graphic artist originally from Norway. Of particular fame he brought drawings depicting representatives of traditional Scandinavian mythology - trolls, as well as landscapes and works based on other myths.
The artist comes from a large merchant family from the small town of Kragerö. He was born in 1857. Together with him, the parents had eight children, and the master was the second. Since his father died at a young age, the older children had to help the mother feed the younger ones and themselves, so Theodore had the opportunity to start a working career early. He was an assistant painter in Christiania (Oslo), which gave rise to his love of painting and art.
While working as a watchmaker’s apprentice, Theodore was lucky to meet with the philanthropist Didrich Ol, who noticed an undoubted talent and decided to pay for the young man’s education at the art school. Two years later, the young man went to study in Germany, but after only 3 years, the patron stopped paying for tuition due to financial difficulties.
Theodore had to return home and go to serve in the army. He managed to go to Paris, the Mecca of artists of that time, to get to Munich. But the paintings could not feed him without bringing a high and stable income.
In 1883, together with two masters from Germany, he received an order to complete illustrations for Norwegian fairy tales in three volumes.
Four years later, the artist returned to his homeland forever. The work of a lighthouse keeper on the Lofoten Islands made him closer to nature and gave time for creativity. Over the years, he created three books, both text and illustrations were his authorship. They gave him fame and love of admirers of his work.
In 1889 Kittelsen married, and his life gained new colors. A few years later he created a book that made him famous. It was called "Black Death", was dedicated to the events of the Middle Ages, when the plague raging in Europe almost turned Norway into a desert.
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by significant technical and industrial changes. In 1907, the master visited the new buildings of the famous energy company Norsk Hydro, after which he painted a series of paintings, Tales of the Waterfall. It is dedicated to grand construction and poetizes the technological progress and achievements of mankind.
In the same year, the masters awarded the highest award of the country - the Order of St. Olaf. The year 1911 was marked for the artist by the creation of an autobiography. He died in 1914.
The creative style of the Norwegian artist is unique and recognizable. His works are still popular and often used as various illustrations. Illustrations of local fairy tales and legends drew attention to Norwegian folklore and popularized it around the world. They look unusually modern, as if they came out from under the brush or pen of an artist of our generation. Obviously, this determines the vitality of the master’s work in our ever-changing world.