Friday, January 6, 2012

Image of the Words

Judith and Holofernes (1866) by Gustave Dore

My approach to appreciating art, in all of its forms, is to look for a meaning, a narrative, some type of significance, which will stimulate my mind in some aesthetic manner. Therefore, illustration would seem to be the art form which I would love most, but it isn't. Too often, illustrators rely upon the written text to carry the burden of the narrative creativity, which results in mere functionality without adding to or transforming the base inspiration.

In my view, illustration is like alchemy, taking a source material and transforming it, through the addition of images, into a more refined product. Of course, some works start out at such a higher grade that you can't really "improve" it, but a quality illustrator can add value by creating linked images that amplify the impact of the text.

Few illustrators in the history of the art form have been as good at this as Gustave Dore.

The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (1866) by Gustave Dore.

So, in honor of his birth date, born in 1832, let's admire some of his awesome Biblical illustrations.

As you may recall, I'm not a fan of the Biblical text, but Dore's work really makes me want to pick it up and give it another reading. ;-)

Detail of Lot Flees as Sodom and Gomorrah Burn (1875) by Gustave Dore

Jacob Wrestling the Angel (1855) by Gustave Dore

Detail of Adam and Eve Driven Out of Eden (1865) by Gustave Dore

And here are a few vids:

Fairy Tale illustrations


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