Title page for ETD etd-11192007-170823

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Conradie, Johannes Hendrik
URN etd-11192007-170823
Document Title Tenebrism in the paiting of Odd Nerdrum from 1983 to 2004
Degree MA (Fine Arts)
Department Visual Arts
Advisor Name Title
Dr E Dreyer Supervisor
  • suffering
  • sublime
  • existentialism
  • isolation
  • kitsch
  • loss
  • painting
  • realism
  • empathy
  • emotion
  • destruction
  • absence
  • beauty
  • death
  • darkness
  • avant-garde
  • transcendence
  • tenebrism
Date 2007-04-12
Availability unrestricted

The hypothesis of this dissertation is that contemporary Norwegian painter, Odd Nerdrum (b 1944), uses tenebrism as a mode of beauty and a device to emphasise psychological states of being. Tenebrism is an effective kitsch device to create an impression of realism and so-called truthfulness while pointing to the deepest human sentiments and emotions.

I argue that Nerdrumís tenebrist art questions dark truths about modernity and its effect on the self. The darkness of his tenebrist style amplifies the emotional states of his human characters, and becomes a negative form of transcendence into absence and the power of its nothingness.

Nerdrumís paintings are a visual record of the human capacity to withstand selfdestruction and strive for restoration from the inane. His physical act of painting opens and refines consciousness by slowing down time, for insight and contemplation.

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