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Fantasy Art

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Fantasy Art is, simply put, art that has fantastical motives and themes. The motives are often of folkloric or mythological nature, or inspired by Fantasy Literature.

Actually, as with Fantasy Literature, it is much more simple to define what it is not. The style of different artists who would all be considered fantasy artists can differ wildly, ranging from photo realistic to Anime. There is no specific medium to it, it can be a painting as well as a photograph or an installation. There have always and everywhere been artists portraying the fantastic, so it is not tied to a specific time or cultural circle. It is not surrealism, dream art or religious art, however fantastic they may be.

Its rise is closely tied with that of Fantasy Literature, too: The artistic genre became popular around the same time as the literary one, when copies of The Lord of the Rings illustrated by Barbara Remington, Pauline Baynes or the Hildebrandt brothers were wildly popular, which was around The '70s.

To the grief of many fans of Fantasy Literature, though, examples of very clichéd, sexist and flat-out not fitting fantasy art kept being slapped onto book covers in many countries, but it has become better in recent years, when artists were employed to illustrate covers specifically for that one novel.

Its roots lie perhaps in the religious illustrations of pre-Christian times, but even moreso in the strange and even unnerving paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, the wild and imaginative art of William Blake and the wanderlust inducing pictures by Caspar David Friedrich, to name just a few. Another, more modern, influence is the surrealism by Salvador Dalí and others. Usually, the term Fantasy Art gets only applied to modern art from the second half of the 20th century onwards.

Artists of this genre include: