I have yet to discover a contemporary Norwegian visual artist I truly like (pointers welcome) but I do love Nikolai Astrup, who is lesser known than his contemporary Munch and is often dismissed as too whimsical or colorful. But he was a scrupulous and innovative painter, who tirelessly reimagined the same thing while shifting between techniques and found endless inspiration in nature. His most famous paintings, while cheerful, are also powerful in their juxtaposition of the nature’s sublime and the simplicity of daily life. If Munch was the Norwegian artist for the anxious intelligentsia stuck in rooms, Astrup was one for the proletariat getting fresh air. Ain’t that nice? His imagery, even though quite unassuming in its subject matter, looks to me like a cartoon or a video game that I could jump into. And it’s not always happy-looking. His woodworks and illustrations are often creepy, haunted by spirits, and the image above is both mysterious and haunting. Now I urgently want to read the fairy tale where there is a pregnant giant woman who gets mistaken for a mountain.