Erik WerenskioldErik Werenskiold was a Norwegian painter and draftsman known for his naturalistic and nationally oriented paintings of folk life in the 1880s. He is also known for the illustrations for Norwegian folk tales by Asbjørnsen and Moe and for Snorre's royal sagas. In 1905 he changed his style to a formally simplified and decorative style inspired by Paul Cézanne.
Werenskiold was born in Eidskog and grew up in Kongsvinger. He first studied under Julius Middelthun at the Art School in 1873 and later under Wilhelm Lindenschmit in Munich from 1876 to 1877. Werenskiold became convinced of the superiority of French plein air painting after seeing an exhibition by Charles François Daubigny in Munich in 1879. This led to the colors i Werenskiold's pictures became brighter, and he began to move towards naturalism. Werenskiold traveled to Paris in 1881 to study French naturalistic art more closely and traveled there annually until 1885.
Werenskiold spent time in Norway, especially in Telemark, when he was not in Paris. It was here that he created his modern, realistic folk life paintings and depicted children and people in the open air. He was seen as an innovator of national painting through his depictions of Norwegian folk types and nature in Telemark.
Werenskiold was also a skilled portrait painter and painted many characteristic portraits of famous Norwegians, including Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Edvard Grieg and Henrik Ibsen. Werenskiold was one of the most significant Norwegian artists of his time and has had a great influence on Norwegian art.