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Old 08-04-2012, 07:03 PM   #22
Sage & Onions
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 891
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye Paint it black

There does appear to be a lack of descriptions of paintings in Middle Earth, but that doesn't really mean that there weren't any.

There aren't many places that you'd expect them to be described. Edoras had its tapestries - far more appropriate for Rohan's culture than oil paintings, frescoes or icons to my mind. I'd certainly expect to see this sort of art in Gondor, but we are only really shown the description of the Avenue of Kings as Faramir Jones posted above. Now this fair but cold hall of stone and sculpture fits Minas Tirith so very well, especially Denethor's character. It's maybe a reminder of classical architecture as an instrument of power - big and impressive to overawe visitors, impersonal too, no natural colours etc.

This does rather hint at Greece and Rome, but as we know today classical sculpture etc was usually brighly painted, even to the extent of appearing gaudy to us.

So maybe painted art was widespread in Minas Tirith but we just didn't get to see any. To be fair there was a war on, so perhaps Pippin just didn't have the time to tour the gallery.

Apart from what's mentioned above, the only hint of paintings I can think of aren't mentioned in the books, but are just possibly shown in one of Tolkien's own drawings. Where? Well, the front hall of Bag End of course.

Now these might be paintings or possibly mirrors. The one on the left might be reflecting the view out of the front door, or it might be a painting of that view. The perspective seems a bit off for it to be a mirror, and a curved mirror should give a distorted image but JRRT wasn't really a professional artist so could well have got it a bit wrong. The other picture/mirror shows just a swirl. No way of guessing what this is. But as said above I could certainly see the Gentle-hobbitry hanging paintings of notable ancestors or nice landscapes.
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