The Art of TH Kittelsen

Nobody could draw trolls like THEODOR SEVERIN KITTELSEN (1857-1914). On that all Norwegians agree.

Kittelsen, who as a young man studied watch making and art, would develop into one of Norway´s greatest artists and the “father” of all Trolls.

His art was dominated by his strong love of nature and was influenced by the Norwegian fairy tales tradition and blended by Naturalism, Mysticism and Art Nouveau.

Apart from his many drawings and paintings of the world of the Trolls, Kittelsen is also famous for a dark and Gothic series of drawings illustrating the Plague that wiped out two-thirds of Norway´s population back in 1349. In the book “The Black Plague” he portrays the Plague as an old hag who travels around, spreading disease and destruction.

But at the same time he created the most beautiful and thrilling paintings of Norwegian nature at its most scenic and impressive, as well as illustrations for children´s books and even illustrating scenes from the Bible. He also wrote the texts to many of the books he illustrated.

Alas, though he was loved by the Norwegian people, the established art critiques and publishers failed to thoroughly appreciate his work. Theodor Kittelsen died famous but utterly poor, and it was only after his death he was awarded an artist´s salery by the state, the money being paid out to his widow, Inga Kristine (born Dahl) and their 9 children.

Although one of Norway´s most famous and beloved painters and illustrators, TH Kittelsen is relatively unknown outside of his country. Let us hope this little page can do its share to help put him thoroughly on the world map of our culture´s greatest artists!


Let the marker of your mouse slide over the picture in order to learn the reference number and the title of the picture. If you klick on the picture, an enlarged version be shown.

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