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Old 03-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #6
Lalwendė
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The reason that paintings are not mentioned much in his work is that Tolkien did not hold painting to be the pinnacle of Art, he tends more towards the Arts & Crafts philosophy best summed up by William Morris as "Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” The Arts & Crafts movement sought to have both great craft and great beauty in all objects, and painting was just one amongst many ways of expression. They also sought to work with the natural beauty and qualities of the material being worked on, and to preserve the past and the natural environment. That's all so Elvish, it's uncanny.

In Middle-earth, there is as much beauty to be found in the packaging of a loaf of Lembas or the hilt of a sword as there is in any Art (with a capital A). In fact, these things are Art in Middle-earth. Tolkien describes them all lovingly.

There's a really fantastic essay available online that was presented at Birmingham 2005 that explains this all in so much more depth (with pictures) and I recommend it:

Ty Rosenthal Essay - The Arts & Crafts Movement and JRR Tolkien
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