[ Green Books ] [ Horizontal Rule ]
[ Horizontal Rule ]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[ Green Books ]
[ Green Books - Exploring the Words and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien ] [ Green Books ]

Vastarion - That 70s Show: Tolkien Art Style

Yes, I grew up in the 70s. That decade without an identity, scrunched between the faddish idealism of the 60s and the arrogant self-serving attitude of the 80s. It wasn’t really that bad growing up then. After the moon landing things were generally optimistic. The world was going to be a better place. But any good seemed to be balanced by something bad. Various crises hovered in the air–Watergate, the gas crisis, the hostage crisis. We got rid of Nixon only to end up with Ford. Carter was the only president in recent times who dared to look beyond tomorrow’s headlines, and look where that got him. And then we got Reagan. Idealism took a sucker-punch to simple human greed.

Somewhere in the middle of that decade I discovered Tolkien. And with the swinging of the pendulum, on the good side, we got the long-awaited Silmarillion, on the bad side, there was Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings, and the Rankin Bass Hobbit. And somewhere in the middle, along came the Brothers Hildebrandt.

[ Click for Larger View ] [ Click for Larger View ]

They illustrated the Tolkien Calendars in the mid 70s. I bought them religiously. The art appealed to me in an odd way. These people, hobbits, wizards, etc., weren’t my hobbits and wizards from The Lord of the Rings, but they were vibrant, shining representations of what a couple of artists thought was Middle-earth. I studied the details of the pictures, visualizing the Hildebrandts’ version of Middle-earth. It never erased my own metal pictures, and neither did Bakshi or Rankin Bass.

The Brothers Hildebrandt had a down-side too. It was a novel they wrote (with Jerry Nichols) called Urshurak, and it came out in 1979. It is perhaps the worst Tolkien imitation that I’ve ever tried to read. In any case, Urshurak makes The Sword of Shannara look really good–and I read all of that book with similar sense of outrage.

[ Click for Larger View ] [ Click for Larger View ]

What has presently inspired in me this nostalgia is a new book I just got, Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years ($24.95, ISBN 0-8230-51242), with text by Gregory Hildebrandt, Jr., the son of one of the artists and the nephew of the other. Here are all those Brothers Hildebrandt pictures that I haven’t looked at for twenty years, plus the stories behind the pictures, a large pullout poster of "The Siege of Minas Tirith," and photographs of various Hildebrandt friends and family members who posed as characters for certain paintings. It’s an intriguing perspective, and it adds depth to the vertigo I feel looking again at all of these paintings from my youth–images that I’d forgotten long ago now leap off of the page with instant recognition and familiarity.

Do the images hold up? Do they have the same fascination now as they did then? I’m not sure. The people seem more wooden and posed than they did twenty-some years ago, and the art less revelatory. Still my own sense of Middle-earth remains inviolate. But this book is a fine trip down memory lane.



[ Email this Page to a Friend ] Email this page to a friend!


Current Article(s)
The Science of Middle-earth: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Past Guests
The Science of Middle-earth: The Great Wave
The Science of Middle-earth: Sex and the Single Orc
The Science of Middle-earth: The Kine of Araw
A Postscript on the Nine Walkers
The Science of Middle-earth: Melanism and Middle-earth<
Hearing the horns of Rohan
The Eternal Conflict in Middle-earth: from Literature to Film
The Science of Middle-earth -- How High the Mallorn?
Lost in Translation? The Lord of the Rings in Russian
The Science of Middle-earth -- O, for the Wings of a Balrog
Myth, Judgement, and the Jackson Way: The Review of Reviews
The Science of Middle-earth -- The Laboratory of Fëanor
What Tolkien Saw: Part Two -- Truth, Glory and Applicability
What Tolkien Saw: Part One -- Entropy, Hubris, and Hope
The Science of Middle-earth -- Making Mithril
"There and Back Again" -- A Survivor's Story
The Science of Middle-earth -- Hawk-Flights of Imagination
Power in the Name
The Science of Middle-earth -- Keen are the Eyes of the Elves
The Science of Middle-earth -- An Ongoing Series
The Enemy is Moving...and He is Us
Q&A with Verlyn Flieger
Beowulf Lives! Or Why Would a Nice Professor Like Tolkien Tell Stories about Nasty Monsters
- Christopher Garbowski
The Tolkien Effect: using the work of J.R.R. Tolkien to inspire children to read
- Annie White Owl
How Much Was Rowling Inspired by Tolkien?
- Caroline Monroe
"On the Wings of a Revisionist"
- Murray B.
JRR Tolkien and World War I
- Nancy Marie Ott
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Movie Review
- Rajesh Shah
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Movie Review
- Chris Peters
Spiritual Lessons in 'Lord of the Rings'
- Kevin Black
"The Lord of the Rings" — An Archetypal Hero’s Journey
- Jody G. Bower
Mythcon 32 and Meeting Philippa Boyens
- Thomas Kelley
Scrolls of Middle-earth
- Lute
Every Time A Bell Rings A Balrog Gets Its Wings?
- William Roper
That 70s Show: Tolkien Art Style
- Vastarion
Who is Tom Bombadil?
- Edoardo Albert
Where the Shadows Lie
- Kevin Roger Black
Macho Men & Warrior Princesses
- Kara Gardner
Growing Up
- Éomer
Tolkien's Greatest Sleepers
- Turumarth
Arwen's Defense
- Lúthien
The Future of the Nine Walkers
- J.W. Braun
Special Guest Home


In Association with Amazon.com
Amazon.com Related Links
Click to buy
"Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years" - Gregory Hildebrandt Jr.

home | contact us | back to top | site map |search | join list | review this site

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, and related properties mentioned herein are held by their respective owners and are used solely for promotional purposes of said properties. Design and original photography however are copyright © 2000 TheOneRing.net ™.