Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland was born June 17, 1808 in Kristiansand. He was a Norwegian writer, celebrated for his poetry but also a prolific playwright, polemicist, historian, and linguist.
He is often described as a leading pioneer in the development of a distinctly Norwegian literary heritage and indeed of modern Norwegian culture. (The painting above is Reidar Aulie´s "I natt red´n Henrik forbi")
Wergeland became a "symbol" of the fight for celebration of the constitution at May 17, which was later to become the Norwegian National Day. He became a "public hero" after the infamous "battle of the Square" in Christiania, which came to pass because any celebration of the national day was forbidden by the Swedish Royal Decree. Wergeland was, of course, present and became renowned for standing up against the local governors. Later, he became the first to give a public address on behalf of the day and thus he was given credit as the one who "initiated the day".Many people in Norway only think of the 17th of May regarding Wergeland, but many have the meaning that he is remembered for the "wrong" things. His fight with Welhaven, his sad loving affairs instead of his happy marriage, the many court processes (which he lost), the refusal of being a priest due to his lifestyle and that many others played a more significant role in the May 17 process. More of this can be read in this article (in Norwegian) from bt.no
When celebrating his 200 years birthday I think it is important to remember at least two women who have had an important influence of the way we today look at Wergeland. His sister Camilla Collett and perhaps mostly Ingeborg Refling Hagen who called him the Great Sow Man.
Jørgen Holen´s painting "Såkvinnen" can be a tribute to these ladies.Wergeland died 37 years old on July 12, 1845 in Christiania ( Now Oslo )