Friday, October 16, 2015

The Brothers Hildebrandt's Tolkien Calendar 1978

Here's the final Brothers Hildebrandt's 1970s Tolkien calendars. It's as good as the second one and suffers from the same flaws.

This could have been done by N.C. Wyeth if Scribners had published The Two Towers. I'm not sure I like that weird thing Gimli's wrist is doing as he points.

Like a photo of a set on a stage. I don't especially like this picture, but as usual, the Brothers' command of light and shading is impeccable.

I love this bit of hobbit domesticity and friendliness. But what's that dog looking at? 

Part of me wants to like this but I just can't. Even Merry and Pippin aren't dumb enough to sit under that tree.

At least I like the grass, trees, and cliffs. The people not so much. Galadriel's gown looks like a nightgown.


Too cartoonish, as I've written before. But creepy, so that's alright.

Channeling Wyeth again, I love the light and the scenery. Again, the peopl not so much. I'm really hating Aragorn's hat and seventies mustache.

EVIL! A little over the top. Perhaps it's supposed to be during the siege of Isengard and he's gone around the bend a wee bit.

Meduseld against the White Mountains. You can feel the massive weight of the stones though I'm hardpressed to see that roof as made of hay.

That's our Beorn! Yep, that's how I picture him, not Peter Jackson's terrible vision.

How out of it would you have to be to listen to THAT man? Still, I like Theoden, his infirmity implied by the cane and the slight hunch to his shoulders.

Should Shelob be bigger? Don't know and don't care.

I like this a lot though I wish it shared fewer architectural similarities with the depictions of Minas Morgul and Cirith Ungol. Unless, maybe, Sauron used lots of Numenorean builders in constructing his home. I really like the line of fell beasts descending from the clouds, like a string of airplanes lining up and waiting to land at Newark airport.

So there's your blast from the past, when Tolkien ruled the fantasy roost and the Brothers Hildebrandt were supreme. I've seen some of their later Tolkien painting and they are disappointing. Their figures became even less natural looking and overall the painting slicker and less attractive. 


  1. I've enjoyed looking at all of these. Hadn't seen the Brothers Hildebrandt illustrations in a while; it's funny how dated they've become. I've always disliked that 'stache thing Aragorn's got going on. Who did they use for a model? Frank Zappa?

  2. *snort* - Zappa - perfect! Personally, I always sort of liked Ralph Bakshi's version