1980 Tolkien Calendar - Ballantine



1980. Ballantine. The 1980 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar: The Great Illustrators Edition. 13 x 12.25. Middle-earth dates. Artwork by Darrell Sweet, George Zeil, Robert Chronister, Peter Caras, Michael Herring, The Brother Gentile, Douglas Beekman, Carl Lundgren, Howard Koslow & Michael Whelan. Although this calendar presents the “great” illustrators, that is a pretentious title; no illustration in the calendar rises to the level of greatness. The best one is "The Eagles are Coming, by Michael Whelan. However, Sam's jaw line is just a little too strong and the two Hobbits look quite robust after their long suffering. Otherwise, the image is very effective, largely through dramatic composition and lighting. The worst image of all time, by any artist, in any medium, must be The Death of Boromir by the Brothers Gentile. It is a very poor attempt at Italian Mannerism, as if somehow painting the scene in a sublime style would reflect the religious undertones of Boromir's redemption at this point in the story. Who is the person standing over Boromir wearing the fine linen? This person looks like the Virgin Mary but it must be a depiction of Aragorn. How did he keep that white robe so clean after running around in the woods for hours? Where did he get the white robe in the first place? Gimli is depicted as a rabbi with an Axe. This kind of manipulation of the viewer only serves to detract from subcreation. The illustrator's role is to enhance this and not introduce unrealistic or false imagery. The best depiction of this scene is one by Ted Nasmith in the 1992 Calendar.


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