May 13, 2010

Frazetta Pass On to Valhalla

It's old news by now, but Frank Frazetta passed away on May 10. Still, I would feel a bit remiss if I didn't mention it here as he is my favorite fantasy artist of all time and certainly one of my top 10 artists period.

What sets Frazetta's works apart is how dynamic they are.  He had a knack for emulating movement that few (if any) can match.  Boris Vallejo, for instance, has fantastic skill, but his pictures seem more like window displays than snapshots of action.  In my favorite Frazetta piece, "Snow Giants," you can practically hear the giant gurgling his blood, his throat having been slit by the Cimmerian's sword.  I had a poster of this picture on my wall during my teenage years.  Honestly, I wish I still had it.



Frazetta certainly captured the raw, blood pumping adventure of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories.  I have to admit, it's always irked me a bit that Conan is almost always near-naked in these paintings, despite the fact that he is usually well-armored in the corresponding tales.  Still, hell, if it weren't for Frazetta, Conan might still be depicted like this:

I'll take "half-naked" over "huge, nerdy-looking guy" any day.

Here is another of my favorites.  I love how Frazetta captured Conan's "volcanic" eyes.


I also have to say, nobody drew voluptuous women like Frazetta.  These aren't waif-like damsels, these are women that would make any man's blood race and heart pound.


 Hell, he could even make Tolkien sexy.




RIP Frazetta. You'll be missed.




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