Museums and Art

"Water", Theodor Kittelsen - description of the painting



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Watermark - Theodor Kittelsen. 1887-1892

The sight of this picture asks for a comparison with the books of horror master Stephen King. In both cases, fears are hidden by everyday life - a beautiful swamp with water lilies suddenly becomes the focus of inexpressible horror, and an outwardly harmless snag with roots sticking out of the water is the head of a monstrous creature.

At first glance, there is nothing frightening in the picture that could immediately strike the imagination of modern man. But it is the simplicity and accessibility of otherworldly evil, its constant presence next to us that scares the most. It is completely incomprehensible what is hidden under the water surface - a bony monster or a giant creature. But this is not important. Eyes already glowing with unnatural light indicate that their master is something completely alien to humanity, cold, wet and evil.

Such a strong effect is achieved by using a modest set of artistic means - just a few colors with a predominance of yellow, which makes the water of the swamp luminous. Green eyes of a waterman burn with ghostly fire, like searchlights, and the surrounding nature becomes just an entourage for such an extraordinary subject of the image.

The artist’s fame as a master of the genre is fully deserved by him, because even after a century his paintings are popular with viewers.


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