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Can't say I agree, although his technical facility is excellent as usual

squire
Valinor


Jul 26 2012, 5:15pm


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Can't say I agree, although his technical facility is excellent as usual [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Tolkien's Rivendell is one of the worst of his Hobbit illustrations. It lacks contrast and light even within the constraints of his style and talent. However, I still prefer it in all of its colorfully chaotic quiltiness to Nasmith's over-academicized effort.

No Tolkien illustrator surpasses Nasmith's facility with landscape and skyscape, rendered "realistically". But here his compositional gift has left him - I suspect because, as you say, he set himself the goal of "improving" on Tolkien's painting instead of rethinking it. Observing the rules of scale, he minimizes Tolkien's visible, quirky, and attractively off-center Last Homely House to the point of invisibility, and the eye is drawn instead to an anonymous cliff that happens to reside at the center of the painting. A similar criticism applies to the mountain in the distance. Instead of a hidden, almost unnoticed peak lurking at the top of the frame in the original painting, suggesting the hobbit's ultimate goal of the Lonely Mountain, we see in the imitation an obvious, conventional and, frankly, boring rendering of a well-proportioned alpine range.

Finally, consider the overall "big picture" effect of the two. Truer to the fantastic text than to realistic Nature, Tolkien's valley feels compressed, vertical, hidden. It is even camouflaged, in a way, by his graphically flattened and dense fields of watercolor. Nasmith's photorealistic valley, while as picturesque as any scenic postcard, feels wide open and exposed to view and empty of magic, or even drama and suspense.





squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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Subject User Time
The Hobbit chapter 3: "A Short Rest" discussion pt.1 Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Jul 26 2012, 3:44am
    "the smell of the pine-trees made him drowsy" SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Jul 26 2012, 3:55am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 26 2012, 11:00am
    I can't stay away from these discussions. DesiringDragons Send a private message to DesiringDragons Jul 26 2012, 2:11pm
        Don't! sador Send a private message to sador Jul 26 2012, 3:23pm
            It's from Tolkien's illustrations for The Hobbit.// Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 26 2012, 3:57pm
            Thank you! DesiringDragons Send a private message to DesiringDragons Jul 26 2012, 5:29pm
        I usually like Tolkien's illustrations best, but in this rare case Naismith Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 26 2012, 3:58pm
            Can't say I agree, although his technical facility is excellent as usual squire Send a private message to squire Jul 26 2012, 5:15pm
                You make some great points. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 26 2012, 6:13pm
                I find it hard to compare Nasmith and Tolkien Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Jul 26 2012, 10:40pm
                    And it's not as if the painting lacks drama SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Jul 26 2012, 11:30pm
                Where would a hobbit rather live? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 30 2012, 5:06pm
            I'll leave the fine details of the art discussion to those... DesiringDragons Send a private message to DesiringDragons Jul 26 2012, 5:24pm
                *watercolor, not drawing // DesiringDragons Send a private message to DesiringDragons Jul 27 2012, 1:16pm
    Short answers sador Send a private message to sador Jul 26 2012, 3:30pm
        Sam, who's master was Frodo Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Jul 26 2012, 3:55pm
        Ah, that's it. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 26 2012, 4:07pm
        Oh yes, Sam! DesiringDragons Send a private message to DesiringDragons Jul 26 2012, 6:18pm
    time flies when you are having fun Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Jul 26 2012, 3:53pm
        I meant Gandalf "entering Moria" - not "enduring Moria" Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Jul 26 2012, 4:12pm
            It makes sense either way SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Jul 26 2012, 5:45pm
        It may not be too surprising dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 27 2012, 2:46am
            Boromir had some trouble finding Rivendell. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 27 2012, 5:46am
                Considering which of those two dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 27 2012, 10:56am
    Rivendell and Lauterbrunnen: an old link of EoPW's dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jul 27 2012, 2:52am
        Thanks for the link Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Jul 28 2012, 3:46am

 
 
 

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