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 Nerdrum's 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.