As I've previously promised, after the articles about Sulamith Wülfing and about John Bauer, the time comes for an article about Theodor Kittelsen.
His depictions of Scandinavian folklore creatures are said to be equally cannon to the trolls portrayed by the definitely more famous John Bauer. But, unlike Bauer, Kittelsen didn't focus just around trolls (which are, you must admit that, most of Bauer's creations - although his sudden death at young age is probably the cause).
Despite from what wikipedia says, from all the mythological creatures he painted, Kittelsen seems to be especially fond of nøkken (see the picture next to his selfportrait above and the ones including pale white horses), which is one of my most beloved creatures, too, actually. Every time I stumble upon a gallery with Kittelsen's illustrations, I can't miss the fact that the most recurrent theme in his pictures is the mentioned monster.
I'm afraid that you'll start noticing this from now, too. Sorry.
At the age of 11, Theodor started working for the local watchmaker, which was obviously partly caused by the circumstances after his father's death, but it was nothing unusual to see children working, even very hard, in the 19th century. Six years later a chance for a lighter life appeared: his manual talent was noticed and 17-years-old Kittelsen started attending to Wilhelm von Hanno's drawing school in Olso (which was called Christiania back then).
The man who discovered Theodor's talent, Diderich Aall, supported Kittelsen all the time. This helped the young artist to start studies in Munich. However, after 1878 the financial support ended and Kittelsen had to earn money on his own, so he started working as a draftsman for some German newspapers.
In 1889 he married Inga Dahl and moved to Skåtøy island, which was close to Kragerø, and later they settled in Hvisten around 1899. Their new home, along with artist studio, was called Lauvlia. Kittelsen spent his artistic golden age there, illustrating Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folktales) from Jørgen Moe and Peter Christen Asbjørnsen.
At the age of 51, Theodor was made Knight of the The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, but it was the last such bright event in his life. Two years later, when his health was getting worse and worse, he was forced to sell Lauvlia. He moved to Jeløy island and spent the rest of his life there. He died on the 21st of January, 1914, 3 months before his 57th birthday.
And much later...
His beloved home and studio, Lauvlia, was transformed into a private museum, where you can see a lot of his illustrations, but also other pieces made by Kittelsen, as Lauvlia is decorated by his own murals and woodcarvings.