1977 Tolkien Calendar - Ballantine
Ballantine. 1977. The J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. 13 x 12.25in. Contains Middle-earth dates. Contains artwork by the Brothers Hildebrandt. What can you say about the Hildebrandt brothers? They are a fixture in the fantasy illustration genre. On the positive side, they obviously have a deep respect for Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. A number of images are the best ever made. These include the awesome "Smaug, "Gandalf Visits Bilbo" and a beautiful portrait of Goldberry. There are two major detractions from their work. The first is that the characters look stiff and posed. Check the affected hand postures of most of the characters. This is because the Hildebrandt brothers pose all the models in period clothing etc., before they paint them. Secondly, the non-human elements, such as the Balrog and buildings, such as Helm's Deep, have an unrealistic, even cartoon quality that detracts from the subcreation of Middle-earth. I think it is this element that "sours" the Tolkien faithful to the work of the Hildebrandt brothers. That being said, I still like most of their work and I have all their posters and reprints.
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