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Favorite Works of Tolkien-Inspired Art, Part II

  • Mar 24, 2010
Since my new Tolkien's Middle-earth community has officially been launched, I thought I'd celebrate by creating this list of artwork inspired by Tolkien's stories. The artists vary both in style and in aesthetic, but all of them are passionate about Tolkien's work and this is evident in their art. I hope you enjoy...
Greg Hildebrant
Together the Brothers Hildebrandt have created some very interesting and memorable works inspired by Tolkien's world, as well as other fantasy and science fiction art. Although some of their artwork falls into the category of "cartoony", I still feel that they are wonderful artists.
Tim Hildebrandt
They began their work on creating illustrations for The Tolkien Calendar in the '70s, and over a period of time were asked to create special paintings for book covers, albums, posters, and other media. Despite the fact that they are sometimes overlooked for their contributions by elitist Tolkien fans, I felt that to not include them would have been a great insult.
Gandalf Visits Bilbo
This is one of the earlier paintings that Greg and Tim did. It was for The Hobbit, which was their first reading experience of Tolkien. The painting has a peaceful, idyllic quality to it that seems appropriate for the Shire.
Smaug (The Dragon's Lair)
This is easily the most memorable and iconic image of Smaug. Definitely one of my favorite Hildebrandt paintings of all time.
Bilbo at Rivendell
For me this image is more evocative of an older Frodo than it is of Bilbo. Bilbo should be fatter. Still, I really like it.
At the Prancing Pony
This painting is great, except for one big issue I have regarding Strider's outfit... he looks like he reaided Errol Flynn's coset during the filming of The Adventures of Robin Hood!
The Fellowship of the Ring
What a great painting! I would love to have a mural of this one the wall of my library someday!
The Ring of Galadriel
There are two different versions of this painting and I actually like this one more, although I read that Tim and Greg prefer the other version.
Captured by the Orcs
This is such a great painting. I like the way Greg and Tim used elements of Japanese and Roman armor on the Orcs. Eerie lighting too!
The Return of Gandalf
Very similar to the scene in the film. I like this one a lot!
Cirith Ungol
Pure awesomeness!
Giant spiders get me every single time... I love it!
Éowyn and the Nazgul
One of my favorite parts of the book and one that has been the inspiration for many works of art. This is probably my favorite though just because I like the strong use of contrasting bright colors. Reminds me of early Walt Disney stuff!
The Healing of Éowyn
A very ethereal painting that almost looks like some religious ritual or ceremony from medieval times. Beautiful lighting!
The Return of the King (The Crowning of the King)
This image reminds me of Wyeth's illustrations from Arthurian legend. Very noble and very iconic.
Peter Pracownik
Pracownik is an incredible artist, known for his illustrations of tarot cards and for his New Age and fantasy works, particularly those inspired by Tolkien. His art is usually elaborate and symbolically meaningful.
Lord of the Rings
Pracownik's psychedelic posters are really unique and always have a deeper meaning to them. This one examines the dualism found in Tolkien's writing and the characters and places he created.
Jimmy Cauty
I really don't know much about Cauty, other than the fact that he's an artist and a musician, who has a great deal of passion for Tolkien. He sure does a mean poster!
The Lord of the Rings (Poster)
One of my favorite LotR posters. Really unique and almost reminiscent of Rackham, which is probably why I love it!
McBride was a talented artist, who had worked for many years illustrating history and military history books. His Tolkien art stands out from the rest in part because it allowed him to abandon the realism of his other works. However, his work mainly included fantasy images done for various Tolkien-inspired role-playing games and to my knowledge, he never got to do an illustrated edition of Tolkien's books, which is a shame.
The Desolation of the Dragon
It's nearly impossible not to love all the depictions of Smaug, especially the more bold and colorful ones.
The Last Homely House
This image of a Ring-wraith riding on the outskirts of Rivendell and unable to enter the holy Elven outpost is pretty cool.
The Chamber of Mazarbul
A classic scen from the novel in which The Fellowship is attacked by orcs in Balin's tomb. This is just awesome!
Death Among the Standing-Stones
This image is flawed for me, because I am rather annoyed by the cliche depiction of a medieval warrior looking like Conan the Barbarian. But I do like the over all composition and the Troll.
Galadriel's Mirror
This scene features Galadriel, one of Tolkien's most prominent Elf characters, but the happening shown here is not of Tolkien's invention. Nice lighting.
This particular image was actually inspired by a chapter of Tolkien's novel and it really captures the essence of that particular passage.
Ilmaryen's Blogrum-Hai
This looks more like a scene from Army of Darkness than one inspired by The Lord of the Rings, but I love it nonetheless. Skulls almost always win me over.
Rohir Wergild
The Riders of Rohan were always fascinating to me since Tolkien created them in the Old English manner. This is a very imaginative and visceral battle scene.
Orcs in the Udûn
A very attractive and captivating work of fantasy art, although this scene is for the game and not actually taken from Tolkien.
Siege of a Beacon Tower
This particular painting looks as though it could have been an abandoned storyboard for the film.
The Enemy at the Gate
This is a very memorable scene from Tolkien's novel. In it, Gandalf confronts the lord of the Nazgul and must prevent him from entering the walled city. Quite exciting!

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April 29, 2010
Some of these were included in a collection of Hildebrandt trading cards I had.
April 29, 2010
Oh, I'm jealous. I didn't even know they had trading cards. I have two of their Tolkien books, a puzzle, and a calendar.
April 29, 2010
It was a pretty large set too. Close to, if not more than, 100 cards. You could probably pick them up fairly inexpensively at a used card store. They advertise in the collectors magazines. In fact that's about all that's IN a collectors' magazine is ads.
April 29, 2010
Pretty much. In fact, that statement would accurately describe about 90% of magazines, regardless of topic matter.
April 29, 2010
I was leafing through a copy of National Geographic at the doctor's office the other day and I was half way through it before I realized that the things I was passing by weren't ads they were the articles. Everything is so short these days and they're made to look like stuff you'd see on a computer.
April 29, 2010
My reviews aren't getting any shorter, though that may or may not be a good thing...
April 29, 2010
No one will ever mistake them for popular magazine articles.
April 29, 2010
No one will ever mistake them for popular... LMAO!
April 29, 2010
No one will ever mistake them for short.
April 29, 2010
Not the ones I've done since joining this site anyway. The ones on Amazon are a different matter entirely.
April 29, 2010
Those are long ago and far away.
April 29, 2010
Yeah, but I may go back to the ones I brought over here (the first 95 or so) and update them because I'm not that satisfied with how little detail and analysis there is.
April 29, 2010
That might help with the writer's block too.
April 29, 2010
It does some. But it also means that my ratings stay the same or even go down despite the fact that I'm still being productive.
April 29, 2010
And so it goes.
March 25, 2010
I haven't even seen half of these paintings...very informative write up!!
March 25, 2010
Really, I figured where you were a Frazetta fan you'd be familiar with Angus McBride. A lot of his early stuff was quite similar to Frazetta's. And I'm sure you're familiar with the Hildebrandt Brothers, whether you know it or not. They did this famous Star Wars poster back in '77.
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