Tolkien's Middle-earth
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Tolkien's Middle-earth » Lists » Favorite Works of Tolkien-Inspired Art, Part I

Favorite Works of Tolkien-Inspired Art, Part I

  • Mar 14, 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...
Alan Lee
Alan Lee has proven himself to be the premier artist when it comes to Tolkien-inspired art. Whether creating images that reflect both his and Tolkien's love of nature or whether evoking the chaos of battle or the horrors of evil, Lee manages to create some of the most visually stunning and memorable depictions of Middle-earth.
Riddles in the Dark
This is such a wonderful depiction of one of the most memorable chapters of The Hobbit.
Frodo and Gandalf
One of my favorite paintings by Lee. I love the smokey atmosphere.
This is undoubtedly the most beautiful image of Rivendell that any artist has yet given us.
The Dark Tower
Lee's painting of Saruman at the Tower of Orthanc was so awesome and powerful, that filmmaker Peter Jackson used it as the basis for the tower seen in the 2001-2003 film trilogy.
The Taming of Smeagol
Again, this painting was so powerful and memorable, Jackson translated it onto the screen.
The Golden Hall
I love the use of colors here. I wouldn't mind visiting the Golden Hall of Edoras.
Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith
One of Lee's most epic paintings, in both scope and detail.
The Black Gate
This wonderful painting includes my favorite image of Gollum.
The Siege of Gondor
One of the most action-packed scenes that Lee has ever done. Quite exciting!
The Battle of Pelennor Fields
A great painting that truly captures the chaotic violence of war.
Ted Nasmith
Ted Nasmith is one of the most respected and most underrated artists of Tolkien-inspired artwork. His use of bright, vibrant colors and his realistic images of nature intermingling with the inhabitants of Middle-earth are wonderfully serene.
The White Ships of Valinor
An idyllic and beautifully melancholy scene taken from The Silmarillion.
An Unexpected Morning Visit
Such a simple and timeless work. This is a terrific depiction of Bag End and Gandalf.
Nasmith's vision of Rivendell is a bit more epic than Lee's, but it stands out for its startling realism and natural glory.
Green Hill Country
Whenever I see this terrific painting, I immediately recall the lyrics to "The Road Goes Ever On".
Farewell to Lorien
This particular Nasmith painting is somewhat flawed in how fantastical and unrealistic it is, but I love the colors and the general design.
The Glittering Caves of Aglarond
This painting was inspired by a very small event within the book, in which Gimli shows Legolas the beauty of the caves at Helm's Deep. I love this one!
Minas Tirith
Another brilliant image of Minas Tirith. This great painting shows Gandalf riding Shadowfax to Gondor with Pippin along for the ride. Impressive.
John Howe
John Howe has been creating paintings of medieval knights and dragons for quite a while now, but his most iconic works are those which were inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. Combining dynamic scenes of action with intense colors and a unique flair for the dramatic, Howe has produced paintings of Middle-earth that have the visceral intensity of a movie scene.
Bilbo's Front Hall
This vision of Bilbo's house was so well realized that Peter Jackson based the design in the films on it.
Smaug the Golden
Howe's illustration of Smaug is really incredible. I've heard that this is what he will appear like in the new film.
Smaug Over Esgaroth
Such a great and dynamic scene!
Gandalf the Grey
This is the perfect representation of Gandalf as far as I'm concerned.
Old Man Willow
For some reason, this was always one of my favorite parts of the book and I was sad that it never made it into any of the films, but at least this painting is unforgettable.
Flight to the Ford
Another really powerful action scene. I really like the way the Nazgul appear here, as well as the way in which the water was painted.
The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Not quite how I imagine the Balrog, but still an amazing and exciting image that pretty much defines the essence of fantasy art.
The Dark Tower
Such a great depiction of the Nazgul and the fell beast. I absolutely love this image. It's just extraordinary!
Roger Garland is another amazing artist whose works have not received the recognition that they deserve. Garland's vision of Middle-earth is both realistic and highly stylized. His images incorporate a love for nature with a knowledge of Tolkien's writing, and he imbues it all with a sense of wonder.
Two Trees of Valinor
This image is so beautiful. Usually, I'm not fond of highly stylized artwork and I prefer fantasy art to be more realistic, but this is just incredible.
My favorite painting of Hobbiton! Not only is it quaint and a little whimsical, but it perfectly captures the rural spirit of the Shire-folk.
Michael Hague
Michael Hague is best known as an illustrator of children's books and while he has produced a great deal of high quality artwork, my favorite images he's done are those created for an illustrated edition of The Hobbit. Hague's pictures have a tenderness about them that reminds us of youthful innocence and curiosity, but he also understands the importance of appealing to adult Tolkien fans.
Gandalf at the Entrance of Bilbo's Hobbit Hole
Perfect! I love just about everything on this one. There's something almost impossible for Tolkien fans to love when it comes to images of Gandalf standing outside of Bag End.
Riddles in the Dark
Not quite as gloomy as Lee's version, but equally memorable and iconic. I really like the use of colors too.
The Lord of the Rings Movie Poster
Unfortunately, I couldn't find out who the artist of this classic 1978 film poster was.

What did you think of this list?

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April 29, 2010
Look who's been busy making lists while I was gone! I'll be back to make individual comments later.
April 29, 2010
Most of these art ones are over a month old. ; )
April 29, 2010
And you never mentioned them to me? Tsk tsk.
April 29, 2010
Yeah, I did, but you never went through them, so I assumed that because they were Tolkien-inspired you weren't interested. I was right, wasn't I? You said that it wasn't really your thing when I asked if you wanted to join the community.
April 29, 2010
I'm sure I intended to, but if I didn't do it that day I probably just forgot. My memory is definitely Swiss cheese.
April 29, 2010
I prefer cheddar. ; )
April 29, 2010
Gouda here.
April 29, 2010
Really? How come?
April 29, 2010
Why cheddar?
April 29, 2010
It goes with everything (pizza, nachos, crackers, sandwiches, veggies, stir fries, etc.). I've only had gouda once and it was when I was young and very picky, so I don't know if I'd like it or not today.
April 29, 2010
I like to eat cheese plain.
April 29, 2010
If I ate it plain too, I'd be the size of a rhino.
April 29, 2010
So that's what did it...
April 29, 2010
Huh?! I'm not rhino-sized yet.
April 29, 2010
I wasn't talking about you.
April 29, 2010
Oh. Who then, dare I ask?
April 29, 2010
How many of us are engaged in this conversation?
April 29, 2010
Are we counting multiple personalities? LOL! Okay, I get where you're going with this. You know you seem to like to pick on yourself...
April 29, 2010
I had a friend named Lynne and we both liked to say that we were graduates of the Rhoda Morgenstern School of Self Defense and our Sensei taught us that if you hit yourself hard enough others would leave you alone--if only because they didn't want to get your blood all over their hands.
April 29, 2010
It's true. I had a friend who told me he got into a bar fight once and scared people off by breaking multiple beer bottles over his own head. I wasn't sure if I believed him or not. He was prone to exaggeration, but then he was also prone to acts of stupid violence too.
April 30, 2010
Of course we meant it more in the psychological sense...
April 30, 2010
Potentially more dangerous than inflicting bodily harm on yourself.
April 30, 2010
As Barry Champlain says in TALK RADIO, "Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words cause permanent damage."
March 14, 2010
dang! impressive how you find these works of art!
March 14, 2010
I scoured the net for days to get these. It wasn't easy. Now, I'm kind of mentally exhausted, which isn't good because this is only the first half of my Tolkien-inspired art list. Yikes! ; )
About the list creator

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