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A Horn Sings High in the Mountains, Theodor Kittelsen - Description of the Painting

30 April 2022
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A Horn Sings High in the Mountains - Theodor Kittelsen.


This is one of the most recognizable paintings of those created by Theodor Severin Kittelsen. The Norwegian musical band Burzum chose her to serve as the cover art of their album Filosofem, released back in 1996.

Twilight. Cloudy Scandinavian sky. A small lawn among the majestic mountain peaks overgrown with impenetrable forests. Gloomy and dark firs rising above the covert. Not a single sunray can break through the thickets of trees and scrubs. No wind felt. Everything faded. Quiet and peace. But the feeling of uneasiness and fear does not leave.

There is a young shepherdess standing on the slope. She brings a birch bark horn to her lips - lur, and a lonely melody sounds, full of unspeakable sorrow. Who is going to answer this call? The song keeps sounding and everything around starts to change.

Nature comes to life, transforms, and fills with magic. Grass soughs softly, hiding little gnomes. A large white stone resting on the grass can turn out to be a sleeping dragon at any moment. There are shreds of a whitish fog sliding from the bushes, where mysterious ghostly shadows flicker. Forest trolls keep hiding among the green branches. Clumsy mountain giants look out from behind tree trunks cautiously. The sounds of bewitching music fascinate them, they freeze and listen. Fairy tales become true.

But the girl's horn does not stop. The melody is rushing over unapproachable mountains, thick forests, and cold mysterious lakes, foggy fjords of the northern country, getting dissolved in the air. A quiet crystal echo returns in response, like a dream of a beautiful and unfulfilled. Music awakens memories, making fear recede.

Looking at this canvas, one feels how the boundaries of reality and the world of Norwegian legends are blurred. The fairy-tale creatures are so close to us, we just need to look and listen. The play of light and shadows fascinates viewers, allowing them to find something new every time they look. That is the true magic of the great artist.
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