Christian Krohg – the naturalistic painter.

Albertine i politilægens venteværelse

When you want to imagine how Norway looked under the poverty in the second part of 19th century, you must check on this amazing Norwegian artist, and one of the leaders of Oslo artistic Bohemia, Christian Krohg. He’s most famous for fellow Norwegians, which is a pity, and that’s why I want to bring closer his persona.


Selvportrett i kurvstol 1917

Born in 1852, Christian started his young adult life with studying law, but at the same time he was attending drawing school. In 1874 he travelled to Germany where he became a student of Hans Gude and Karl Gussow. First one is one of the most famous Norwegian romantic painters along my favourite, Johan Christian Dahl; whereas Karl Gussow was the German realism painter. After them, he was influenced by Adolph Menzel, Max Liebermann, Max Klinger and Georg Brandes, which ended up with him becoming a naturalist.

Selvportrett med staffeli

In summer 1879 he came to a small, Danish fishing village called Skagen, where he became influenced by the fishermen and their way of life. He was especially close to the Gaihede family, who inspired him to create three famous paintings:

From the left: Kone som skjærer brød;  Babord litt; Garnbinderen

As one can see, he was quite occupied with portraying life of those people as it was:  poor, sick, bland or even ugly. He came back to Skagen many times, which resulted into two more paintings:

From the left: Håret flettes; Mor og barn

After spending quite some time in the Danish village, he came back to Kristiania (nowadays Oslo) in autumn 1879. He therefore became more occupied with society problems – his idea was that art, besides an esthetic function, should be showing a brutal, realistic image of a reality. Which, in this case, was portraying sick people, poor people gathering on the streets etc.


Syk pike

One of his most famous paintings is Kampen for tilværelsen (picture down below), which is quite society-critical and shows the sympathy that the artist had for the weakest and poorest (he was trying to put the light on their situation by those paintings).


His works are the most shown in The National Museum / Gallery in Oslo, but also in Bergen, Trondheim, Kristiansand, Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, København and Skagen. If you want to check more of his paintings online, check out this pinterest. I hoped this post was a little bit enlightening or interesting.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Author: areneith

student, Norway-lover, artist, dreamer, book worm

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