11 November 2010

Fairy-Tale Illustrator:
Ivan Bilibin


Oh, how I wish Ivan Bilibin had illustrated that most wonderful of books, The Hobbit! Add a grey robe and peaked hat to the figure above, and we see a wizard riding to the rescue of his friends (captured by trolls, no doubt). Or change that horse into a snarling warg, and we can imagine a wicked goblin warrior off to battle!

Ivan Bilibin was a Russian illustrator during the early 20th century, and his work is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau style.

What would The Hobbit have looked like if illustrated by Bilibin? Let's take a peek at Chapter IX, "Barrels Out of Bond" - the Bilibin version...

The Elves of Mirkwood

Barrels on the River


Nova Akropola has a very nice gallery of Bilibin's work. (Note: the site is in Russian.)



Anonymous said...

Darling, all these illustrations are for Tzar Saltan Tale by Pushkin. There is no relevance with Hobbit at all ;-)

Hob Meadows said...

Indeed, there is no relation between the book and the artist. The Hobbit was published in 1937, and Bilibin died five years later, in 1942.

The entire post was a daydream, where I ask (literally, in the post above), "What would The Hobbit have looked like if illustrated by Bilibin?"

I think it would have been marvelous, and I plan on having a series of posts that showcase the wonderful work of fairytale artists to see what my favorite book would have looked like if it had been illustrated by them.

Thanks for your comment and interest in the blog!