Rosemaling (meaning "rose painting") is the name of a form of decorative painting that developed in Norway around the 1700s. The first rosemalers were inspired by artists from continental Europe, but over time developed their own unique styles. Most painters were poor, traveling artisans that would go from farm to farm painting rooms and furniture for comparatively wealthy landowners. Over time, different regions of the country developed their own distinctive styles. Style differences became so obvious that the origin of each rosemaled piece often could be identified on sight. Styles sometimes overlapped as artists moved from one district to another, and a few painters ventured from floral motifs to people, landscapes, biblical scenes and animals.
As with other Norwegian arts and crafts, rosemaling traveled to America with emigrants in themid-1800s. But when American furniture styles and trends in home decor changed, the traditional art form began to disappear. It remained somewhat dormant in the United States and Canada until resurrected by Norwegian-American descendants in the 1950s. It has grown since that time to become a treasured form of ethnic expression.
Credit: Sons of Norway Cultural Skills Program – www.sofn.com
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