Wagner Viking Picture

the first completed of my recent etching experiments. For years I've been in love with the look and feel of those old time prints, and have tried to imitate the style in pen, but nothing quite beats the real thing.

Particularly I've always loved the 19th century, wagnerian, cleaned up (and no doubt highly fantastical) take on ancient germanic people, as presented in paintings, prints and operas of the day; vikings, goths, vandals, great heroes, warriors, kings, valkyries, all with these archeologically influenced but crazy, extravagant clothes, ornaments and of course the now-famous horned/winged viking helmets. As those of you who follow my page probably know, i've been taking a break from my regular posting this last month to learn up on some other art techniques. my long-term hope is that I may get to continue my "middle-earth historic costume" book as a series of authentic prints, of which this was an early (and quite small) experiment. The subject and style for this piece (originally i was just calling it Vercingetorix, the gallic king who fought against Caesar) is one so well known to me that i could basically sleepwalk through it (which I think helps when you're trying to focus on learning the technical process of a new medium) but while making it it occurred to me (not for the first time, but with renewed conviction) that Tolkien's fantasy world, particularly as presented in the rather elevated "silmarilion" fits quite snugly into that tradition of grandiose, Wagnerian-era reinterpretations of ancient northern european mythology. There are a few artists out there whose tolkien-related work very strongly evokes this idea, and it was fun to consider this piece - though it did not start life this way - in a tolkienian context; the figure could be Tuor in his gear provided by Ulmo, he could be a numenorian (perhaps a blonde one of a more strongly hadorian strain, as many were) or it could be a statue found in minas tirith depicting their long-ago ancestors whose winged helmets they still imitate, or a heroic rendering of Galador the half-elven first prince of Dol Amroth and ancient ancestor of Imrahil and his swan knights.
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