-By Donato

Ever since I was handed The Hobbit to read as a 13 year old, the world of Middle-earth has been at the core of my imaginative being. J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings and epic trials of his characters have been much on my mind these past years as my skills have grown, my aesthetics matured, and my thoughts turn to those stories which transcend time. I am now at a phase of my career where I have the technical ability and emotional sensitivity to make real those visions which normally confound and frustrate a young artist. I have become a bit more fearless in embracing major projects and revel in the challenges they present.

Niagara Falls  Fredrick Church

This painting speaks to many passions I hold, from that of being an artist, a dreamer, a story teller, and a fan of Middle-earth. Drawing on my love of the Hudson River school landscape artists, it was pure pleasure to undertake this monumental work both in homage to the art of Albert Beirstadt and in celebration of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. I could not have stepped into this realm of landscape work without the sublime discovery of Fredrick Church’s Niagara Falls at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC years ago.  I will never forget walking into that room, transfixed by the painting on the wall.  It was the first time I really saw a landscape painting and the emotional weight it could deliver.  Church displayed such beauty, awe, and technical brilliance in bringing that geological wonder to life through oil paint. 

Lander’s Peak  Albert Beirstadt

Those emotions were a part of why and how I wanted to tackle this commission, and a reason for its scale – my image is nearly identical in size to a masterwork of the Hudson River School, that of Lander’s Peak by Albert Bierstadt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Specifically, my mountainous scene comes from The Silmarillion and features a forefather of Elrond, Huor, rescued with his brother from the minions of Morgoth and transported to the hidden realm of Gondolin by the eagles.  An act of kindness, discovery and wonder all wrapped into one!

It was only through working upon a painting of this scale that I could really appreciate the accomplishments of what those landscape artists achieved in their work.  I will be forever humbled by this journey.

The painting is my largest to date in an attempt to convey the wonder and majesty of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but it will certainly not be my last. Keep your eyes open here and on my website for more epic interpretations of Middle-earth to come in the future!


P.s Prints are now being proofed for those Tolkien fans who want a piece of the hidden elf kingdom.

Huor and Hurin Approaching Gondolin   Oil on Linen   112″ x 77″   Donato Giancola