The famous artist Peter Nikolay Arbo was born in 1831, near the Norwegian town of Drammen, in the family of Christian Frederik, the director of the Arbo public school.
The boy was interested in drawing, but only at the age of 20 in 1851 he began to study at an art school in Copenhagen, where he received an initial art education in two years.
In 1853, Peter Nikolai enters the famous Dusseldorf Academy of Arts. In the 19th century, it was one of the most famous and influential painting schools in Europe. Its creators and directors were such famous painters as Peter von Cornelius, Friedrich Wilhelm Schadov, Andreas Aachenbach, Christian and Paul Raudi, as well as other artists, not only European, but also American and even Australian.
Under the influence of each of the school leaders, the directions of painting also changed:
- academic, far from real life;
- romantic motifs of the German Middle Ages;
- illustrative direction;
- heroic and revolutionary themes;
- historical, biblical, battle plots;
- social and everyday genre.
The artist is interested in history, mythology, illustrations, and is friends with creative people and publishers.
In 1859, the book “Album from Axvalla” was published, which included lithographs from drawings by Peter Nikolai. The main theme for their creation is the Swedish and Norwegian military exercises.
In 1860, illustrations dedicated to medieval Norway were published in a historical book.
Later, after 20 years, in 1879, illustrations by Arbo about Per Gynt, the hero of the play by Ibsen, will be included in the famous edition of Norwegian fairy tales.
Also, several illustrations by Arbo are included in the Illustrations of Nordic Artists of Norwegian History.
Arbo - historical and mythological painter
In 1861-1863, the artist lives in his native Norway, travels around the country a lot and enjoys studying and drawing it. One of his first paintings is Herd of Horses on a Mountain. Arbo loves to return to his works, he has several versions of "Herd ...", "Valkyrie" and his most iconic - "Wild Hunt".
In 1863, Arbo went to Paris, where he lives and works until 1871. He was always interested in myths, fairy tales, and he continues this theme in his works “Valkyrie” (1865), “Night”, “Dawn”, “Ingeborg” (1868), “Death of Hervard”, “Battle of Stamford Bridge”, “King Sverrier’s passage through the mountains in Vosse” and others.
Returning to Norway in 1872, he paints the most important picture of his life, “Wild Hunt”. Currently, it is stored in the city of Oslo, in the National Gallery.
Scandinavian mythology is a “golden thread” in the works of Arbo: “After the Battle”, “Day at Skinfax”, “Liden Gunvar and Triton” and others.
Arbo - a public figure
Peter Nikolay is not only a talented artist, but a successful and active citizen of his country.
In 1882, he marries and writes a beautiful portrait of his wife - "Eliza Arbo in a Spanish hat."
In the year of the creation of the Valkyrie, in 1866, Arbo was awarded the orders of two countries: the Order of the Patron of Norway - St. Olaf and the Order of Vasa - for outstanding achievements in art for the benefit of the Swedish king.
He also actively participates in art exhibitions, is a representative of the art department of the exhibition in Austria, a member of the jury, a member of the Council of the Norwegian National Gallery, and holds the position of Stockholm juror.
Ten years, from 1882 until the end of his life (October 14, 1892), Arbo is the permanent leader of "Christiania", an art society named after the Viking capital - the modern city of Oslo.