Bridge of Khazad-dûm, framed, 79″ x 93″ overall , oil on linen, in situ in the studio

I am thrilled to be able to share with you the latest large scale work from my series of oil paintings of Middle-earth, the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

I have been interpreting the world of Middle-earth ever since being introduced to The Hobbit as a young teenager and avid Dungeons & Dragons role-player. Artworks from my youth were fueled by interest in comics, role-playing games, and the art of professional illustrators from various artistic compendiums, calendars, and books I was reading at the time.  One of the most impactful resources was the Tolkien Bestiary edited by David Day which brought together over a score of artists to present an ‘encyclopedia’ of Middle-earth.

Ian Miller, Assault of Isengard, 1977 , The Tolkien Bestiary

As a young artist with no knowledge about painting, I was drawn to the black and white ink works of Ian Miller in particular within this compendium. Ian’s attention to patterns, details, and dynamic gesture enthralled me. The Tolkien Bestiary presented highly varied artistic styles and interpretations of Middle-earth. The fact that there was no single ‘correct’ way to imagine its environs and peoples made it feel plausible that my small and amateur voice as an artist could be a ‘valid’ addition to these representations.

Early works of Gandalf and the Balrog, 1982-88

Stepping forward forty-plus years into my professional career, I have developed the skills, insight, and determination to bring the highest level of quality and integrity to my visions of Tolkien’s world.  My desire to bring these images and paintings to light is not just fueled by my own personal interest but a desire to celebrate the work of Tolkien in a way that hopefully, someday, will lead Middle-earth to being honored on the walls of art institutions.  I walk through museums in every city I visit, deeply absorbing and respecting the works within as they speak to me and to the thousands of other artists, young and old, who pass through seeking inspiration. How wonderful and thrilling it would be to see Middle-earth themed works as part of such sources of motivation.

The Fellowship in Hollin, Donato Giancola, 65″ x 34″ Oil on Panel, 2016

Throughout my professional career, there have been a few rare opportunities to illustrate Middle-earth as commercial commissions. The majority of the works I have created around Tolkien’s writings have sprung out as personal, fine art interpretations negotiated from time slots from my schedule as an illustrator.

The 19th Century French Salon was a place where artists would display epic paintings,  product of their passionate pursuits some times years in the undertaking without patron support. Much like those artists, I have begun to produce monumental imagery from Middle-earth here in my studio in Brooklyn. Stretching canvas to the maximum size possible on the studio wall, I have been slowly adding to a growing body of large format Middle-earth works, and showcasing them when I can at conventions and events.

Beacons of Gondor, Donato Giancola, 77″ x 114″ Oil on Linen, 2022

Those of you who may have attend my Open Studio and IX Arts convention last year were the first to glimpse The Beacons of Gondor, 77″ x 114″ oil on linen.  The year before saw the release of the Walls of Moria, 48″ x 48″.

This coming Fall I will host another Open Studio showcasing the Bridge of Khazad-dûm (if you wish to visit and see the art firsthand!) among other works here in Brooklyn, NY.  The date is tentatively set for Saturday, September 21, 2024.

Photo of the 24″ x 28″ limited Edition gold Embossed and foil stamped Print

Lastly, I am currently running a Kickstarter for those who may be interested in supporting this pursuit of mine with a print purchase.  Ending July 22, 2024.

rough sketch, 2012

Preliminary Drawing, 18″ x 24″ Graphite and Chalk on Toned Paper

process development


Bridge of Khazad-dûm, Donato Giancola, 66″ x 80″ Oil on Linen, 2024