Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth (英語) ハードカバー – 2010/10
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From the brush of Donato Giancola, one of the world's most recognized and lauded fantasy artists, comes a book filled with new illustrations that apply his legendary Renaissance craftsmanship to J. R. R. Tolkien's fantastic Middle-Earth. Dramatic lighting and deft draftsmanship reminiscent of master painters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer explain Donato's popularity with millions of fans, as well as the numerous Hugo and Chesley Awards he has received. This long-awaited, moving, and beautiful voyage through Middle-Earth -- a must-have for eager genre readers everywhere -- offers a refreshingly new exploration of literature's most beloved fantasy realm. From Helm's Deep to Mount Doom, Donato takes readers on a colorful tour filled with warriors, wizards, dragons, and dwarfs. Throughout he exhibits his astonishing technical virtuosity with every scene he brings to life, while also demonstrating the delight and wonder familiar to all true devotees of Middle-Earth.
Since beginning his professional career in 1993, Donato Giancola's list of clients has grown to include major book publishers in New York to concept design firms on the West Coast: notables include National Geographic, Scholastic, Simon&Schuster, and Time/Warner. Merits range from the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators in 2008 to eighteen Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, three Artist Hugo Awards for outstanding professional work from the World Science Fiction Society, notable awards from the Art Renewal Center, and multiple silver and gold medals from the juried annual Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York.
I hadn't but I sat down and visually drank in the cover, a panoramic painting of Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo Baggins in the mountains. The cover was by Donato Giancola, a new name to me.
With that cover alone, Donato assumed his rightful position in the first rank of Tolkien illustrators, which includes (in no particular order) Alan Lee, Ted Naismith, John Howe, Tim Kirk, Michael Whelan, Kinuko Craft, Michael Kaluta, Steve Hickman, Michael Hague, and many others.
What Donato brings to his visual interpretation of Middle-earth is a rich imagination, a gorgeous color palette, and a keen artist's eye in choosing scenes that resonate.
Not surprisingly, Donato prefers portraits, which is one of his many strengths: His art inspiration is from the old masters, and this book certainly shows that. The oil paintings show a mastery by an artist who is only in his forties; I can only imagine, with delight, what else we have to look forward to from his talented pen and brush in the future!
The color paintings are gorgeous, and the toned pieces (graphite on brown paper) are exquisite studies; together, you get to see the visual story behind many of the finished pieces. (I own the original art to the toned illustration on page 9, and can attest that the reproduction in this book is exceptionally close to the original--the printing is THAT good.)
If you ever get a chance to see Donato's originals, do so. He was at the Comicon and had many of these pieces on display. And, as good as the reproduction is in this book, you haven't really seen a Donato until you've seen it in person, in the scale the artist intended. (The painting for THE HOBBIT, for instance, measures 38 x 68 inches; and the painting for THE LORD OF THE RINGS measures 33 x 55 inches.)
When I edited THE ESSENTIAL JRR TOLKIEN SOURCEBOOK, I interviewed Donato (among others: Tim Kirk, Michael Whelan, Michael Kaluta, and Tim Kirk--all calendar or book artists), and he spoke long and lovingly about his great enthusiasm for Tolkien's masterwork.
Donato's passion for art and Middle-earth combine in this wonderful, full color book that will delight, amaze, enchant, and mesmerize any Tolkien fan.
It'd make a great Christmas gift for any Tolkien fan you know, or a great gift for yourself. Either way, get a copy and make someone happy.
Kudos to Tim Underwood (SPECTRUM publisher) for publishing this, and to Arnie Fenner for a classic design. This book, simply, is one for the ages, and I look forward to more compilations of Donato's classic art.
It's a good book with fantastic art.
I was first exposed to Giancola through his jacket art on the Sci-Fi Club's single-volume release of The Lord of the Rings (this same piece is used on the cover of this collection). Immediately I knew I had to find more about the artist. This lead me to Giancola's "Middle-Earth: Visions of Modern Myth", and it did not disappoint. His art is full of emotion, striking realism, and beauty. Most remarkable is how Giancola depicts these characters different from all others before him. Most other artists have followed in the foot steps of Hildebrandt, or Howe and Lee (especially due to the success of the film adaptations). In a vast ocean of fantasy artists who have tackled Tolkien's Middle Earth, Giancola's Visions of Modern Myth sits in a well-deserved spot in my library next to the likes of Howe, Lee, and the Brothers Hildebrandt.
Online I've seen that Giancola has done more Tolkien pieces since the time of this book's publication. Here's to the hope of seeing a second volume!