Masterpieces of Fantasy Art


Masterpieces of Fantasy Art


Dian Hanson (editor)


Taschen, 2020.

Publisher’s Summary

Myth, Muscle, and Sexy Maidens! A giant-sized survey of fantasy art.

Fantasy art, that colorful blend of myth, muscle, and sexy maidens, took off in 1923 with the launch of Weird Tales magazine and was reinvigorated in the 1960s with The Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian paperbacks with Frank Frazetta covers, and the late ’60s emergence of fantasy psychedelia. It went big in the ’70s with the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, the brilliant French magazine Métal Hurlant, and the first Star Wars film. The number of active artists peaked in that decade, but a new generation of fans discovered the genre through fantasy trading card games in the ’90s, leading to a massive interest in the art form today. Frank Frazetta’s oil paintings—when they infrequently come to market—have sold for more than $ 5 million in recent years. Fans line up at Comic-Cons to meet Boris Vallejo, Rodney Matthews, Greg Hildebrandt, Michael Whelan, and Philippe Druillet and memorialize dead icons HR Giger, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, and Frazetta. Imagine how eagerly they’ll welcome Taschen’s History of Fantasy Art, including all the artists listed above.

This monster-sized tome features original paintings, contextualized by preparatory sketches, sculptures, calendars, magazines, and paperback books for an immersive dive into this dynamic, fanciful genre. Insightful bios go beyond Wikipedia to give a more accurate and eye-opening look into each artist’s life. Complete with tipped-in chapter openers, this collection will reign as the most exquisite and informative guide to this popular subject for years to come.

Our Thoughts

This is an extensive and beautifully produced book showcasing fantasy art. It’s a large coffee table book that’s quite heavy and sturdy. The book features the most iconic works from various artists, including Frazzetta and Moebius. Some of the art may come across as cheesy, typical of fantasy art. However, what sets this book apart is the high-quality reproductions of the artwork. While Frazzetta’s books may contain more paintings, none are better reproduced than in this book. The same goes for the other artists featured. It’s a stunning book that’s definitely worth owning.