Johan Christian Claussen Dahl, often known as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who is considered the first great romantic painter in Norway, the founder of the "golden age" of Norwegian painting, and, by some, one of the greatest European artists of all time. He is often described as "the father of Norwegian landscape painting" and is regarded as the first Norwegian painter to reach a level of artistic accomplishment comparable to that attained by the greatest European artists of his day. He was also the first to acquire genuine fame and cultural renown abroad. As one critic has put it, "J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th century.
Although Dahl spent much of his life outside of Norway, his love for his country is clear in the motifs he chose for his paintings and in his extraordinary efforts on behalf of Norwegian culture generally. He was, for example, a key figure in the founding of the Norwegian National Gallery and of several other major art institutions in Norway, as well as in the preservation of Norwegian stave churches and the restoration of the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and Bergenhus Fortress in Bergen.