Educated at the royal art academy in 1844. Pupil of H.V Bissen in 1846 and pupil of Thomas Couture in Paris from 1854-1855.
Olrik begun his carrier as a sculptor and worked under the guidance of H.V Bissen. Later Olrik changed his media and focused on working with oil paintings and drawings. Olrik was friends with Carl Bloch and F.C Lund with whom he worked and traveled in Italy from 1862-1863. Olrik worked in the beginning with Landscapes and made many sunlit scenes portraying farmers at work. Later Olrik focused on historical and mythological scenes. Olrik works was in high demand and did paintings for both the Danish Royal family, Danish nobles and the Danish government.
Olrik also worked on altarpieces. One of Olriks most famous altarpiece was ” the mountain sermon” Denmark’s largest altarpiece located at the Sct. Matthews church in Copenhagen. Olrik worked on the altarpiece for many years and it consists of 130 fully detailed different people in addition to a large detailed landscape with mountains and trees. Olrik was a true renaissance man and had talents for both sculpting, painting, drawing and also worked with crafting silver dishes and porcelain ornaments.
Olrik worked and traveled all around Scandinavia and worked frequently in Germany, Italy, France, United kingdom and Holland from 1858-1879.
Exhibitions: Charlottenborg: 1947-1890. – The World fair in London: 1862. – The world fair in Paris: 1879. – International exhibitions in London: 1870 and1871. – Town hall exhibition: 1901. – Portrait exhibition: 1922 – Danish art: 1855-1885. – The art union: 1975 and 1984. The national gallery of art: 1996.