Art of Middle Earth

From Jeff LaSala at Donato Giancola Is the Caravaggio of Middle-earth

When I visited Venice last year, I was overcome by the quality and quantity of the art filling the great halls of the famous Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace). The works of Italian Renaissance painters like Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto surround you and nearly overwhelm you in that place. Saints, kings, soldiers, philosophers, angels, and gods throng the walls, ceilings, and frescoes. But you know, if someone could sneak in an armload of paintings by artist Donato Giancola—paintings like “Gandalf at Rivendell,” “Boromir in the Court of the Fountain,” or “The Tower of Cirith Ungol”—and scatter them around the palace, I bet it would take a good long while for some snooty art historian to notice and complain.

Hell, I probably wouldn’t double-take, either, because those paintings would be perfectly at home there among the masters. I suppose if you put up enough of Donato’s masterpieces in the Louvre or the Met, maybe tourists would eventually wonder why Satan looks an awful lot like a Balrog or ask who all those stressed-out, grey-robed, pipe-smoking old men are, and hey, what’s that blonde lady doing with a sword and, whoa, is she facing off against a headless, mace-wielding black knight who’s just been unhorsed from some kind of pterosaur? What Greco-Roman myth is that even from?!

The whole post is well worth a look, with many great examples of Donato Giancola’s artwork. My favorite presented in this post is, surprisingly enough, the one of Sarumon called “Sarumon — Corruption.” He looks . . . worn out. Not physically, but emotionally; or, I suppose, spiritually.

Incidentally, the Doge’s palace in Venice is indeed amazing. And now that LaSala has suggested it, I too can visualizeDonato Giancola’s paintings fitting into that venue. They really would.

Final note: scroll all the way to the bottom. The robot feeding the squirrel is of course not exactly a Middle-Earth image, but it’s a great painting.

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