Norwegian art | the mysterious boy from Setesdal | Norway

Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen created this fascinating oil painting in 1904. It is like a window leading into the house of history. If only we could climb through.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
«Boy from Setesdal» - oil painting by Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen from 1904. The model is said to be Aanund Aanundson Rike. | Photo: Stavanger kunstmuseum - digitaltmuseum.no SG.0214 - public domain.
«Boy from Setesdal» - oil painting by Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen from 1904. The model is said to be Aanund Aanundson Rike. | Photo: Stavanger kunstmuseum cc pdm.

The painter

Sometimes, photographs or paintings draw you in – and with this fascinating oil painting, the painter Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen somehow creates a gateway to the other side of time.

Sundt-Hansen (1841-1907) was a Danish-Norwegian painter born in Stavanger, Rogaland. He mainly painted portraits and scenes from everyday life.

Who is the boy?

The boy is said to be Aanund Aanundson Rike, and the location is Valle, Setesdal – in the southern Norwegian region of Agder – where the painter lived during the last few years of his life.

Notice the grey, woollen sweater, with a typical local pattern: a setesdalsgenser.

What if we could speak to Aanund and his people, go behind the wall? What if we could break bread with them and follow them in their daily work?

The cynic may argue that we would not want to; life was hard back then. Of course it was hard; it is not always so easy in this day and age either. I would definitely risk the climb.

Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen. Self portrait - oil painting - 1906. | Photo: Stavanger kunstmuseum - digitalmuseum.no SG.0062 - public domain.
Carl Fredrik Sundt-Hansen. Self portrait – oil painting – 1906. | Photo: Stavanger kunstmuseum cc pdm.

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