Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Art Of The Brothers Hildebrandt

Released in 1979, The Art Of The Brothers Hildebrandt was one of those gorgeous landscape format book-length portfolio's that seemed to come out once a week throughout The Bronze Age. Tim & Greg Hildebrandt took the publishing world by storm in 1976 with their run of calenders for Lord of The Rings. Now, I'm no Tolkien fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I knows what I like, and great art is great art. Like here, with the bro's interpretation of The Fellowship Of The Ring.

And here's Bilbo At Rivendell.

While this, obviously, is Gollum.

It all came about like this: Ballantine Books art director Ian Summers had been given the task of finding an artist to illustrate the first Tolkien calender, He had three professional illustrators set, all great, but none quite right for the project. Then in February '75, his receptionist tells him there's two guys out in the lobby waiting to see him. Responding that he doesn't see anybody without an appointment, he's told: "Ian, honey, I think you really ought to see this."
From Summers introduction to the book: "Before my eyes were a pair of identical twins...Greg's pants were so covered in paint they looked as if they would stand up by themselves. Tim was much neater. Each of the brothers carried a large black plastic bag. Greg said something like,"Pictures, man, we make 'em-Tolkien pictures." I suggested they make an appointment with me to show their work and bring their portfolios with them. Tim explained that their portfolios were indeed with them, and they proceeded to empty the contents of the black plastic garbage bags on the floor of the reception area....My eyes popped and a chill travelled up my spine signifying what has been called the 'eureka response'. In fact, I even said "Eureka!"
Here's some more of the kind of thing Summers saw. This is The Return Of Gandalf.

And here's The Healing Of Eowyn. What I like about this stuff most of all, is that it really does look like medieval art, which was surely Tolkien's intention.

Oh, and here's Smaug. Always room for a dragon or two here, y'know.

Another fantasy epic that ran through The Bronze Age was Terry Brook's The Sword Of Shannara, and Tim & Greg illustrated that too. Here's the cover to the first volume.

While here's the Fellowship again, whoops, I mean here's The Seekers Of The Sword.

And here's a self-portrait, fairly obviously titled Twins.

And finally, this is the first time I ever saw The Hildebrandt's work, and my favourite, the poster for some long-forgotten sci-fi flick. According to Summers intro, this piece was done in the staggering time of three days, both brothers working both simultaneously as well as painting in shifts, meaning that it was a twenty-four hour process to complete it. Just think about that for a second, these two guy's style's & techniques are so similar, they can both do the same picture at the same time, without anyone being able to tell the difference. And apparently, they do it all the time. That's just incredible.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit I'm not a fan of the Hildebrandts but I've always loved the mythic dimension they add to Luke and Leia on that poster.
    Oh, and that painting of The Fellowship? Surely the guy on the far right is Peter Jackson? Talk about ahead of their time! Spooky...