Fantasy Art – Discussion on its Evolution

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Our scholar Benj Randell gave a wonderful and insightful talk on Fantasy Art.

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To summarise my talk: Fantasy art has evolved throughout history to take so many different paths that it would be a travesty to try and sum it up in one particular style of painting. Fantasy art influenced by literature including religious and mythical texts is still quite diverse but it is easier to track its evolution and the change in trends throughout history. From the religious works of Hieronymous Bosch and Gustave Doré to the paintings based of Arthurian legend and chivalry by J.W. Waterhouse and Edmund Blair Leighton and then the dramatic and vivid work of Frank Frazetta, all have attempted to present captivating and believable representations of the fantastical. At present a lot of modern fantasy art is a product of the influence of Tolkien and the pulp magazines, however, the genre is still broad and isn’t confined by a certain definition.

 

The Lady of Shalott 1888 John William Waterhouse

 

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Gustave Dore; Paradise Lost – etching
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Henry Fuseli; The Nightmare

 

 

art oil painting 19th century fantasy art
Edmund Leighton-God Speed!
art oil painting 19th century fantasy art
Edmund Blair Leighton; Accolade

Howard Pyle (1853-1911) influential American illustrator
Most well known for his paintings of pirates.
Wrote and illustrated (woodblock prints) his own Arthurian stories. ‘The Story of King Arthur and His Knights’

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Howard Pyle; Otto of the Silver Hand

 

Pulp Magazines
Inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from around the early 1890s to the 1950s. Considered as low-brow.

Some fantasy pulp magazines include The Argosy and Weird Tales.

art courses illustration fantasy art evening course concept art Pulp Magazines Inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from around the early 1890s to the 1950s. Considered as low-brow. Some fantasy pulp magazines include The Argosy and Weird Tales.
The Argosy
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Weird Tales

 

 

Frank Frazetta (1928-2010)
Widely considered to be the most influential and most emulated fantasy artist in history.
He defined the look of Conan the Barbarian.

Frank Frazetta influential fantasy artist history look Conan the Barbarian.
Frank Frazetta; Conan
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Frank Frazetta

 

Concept Art, and art form of creating ideas in order to create something more. Imagery for the space, the characters, the setting for video games, films and so much more.

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