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Old 02-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Cover illustration by Anke Eissmann

German artist and illustrator Anke Eissmann created a brand-new painting for the cover of Music In Middle-earth. It shows Lúthien singing, accompanied by Daeron playing the flute, amidst green leaves and flowers.

This motive was chosen because of the significance of both depicted Elves for music in M-e. Lúthien was the most powerful singer ever to appear in Tolkien's works, for she had the Maian ability of her mother Melian in addition to her Elven heritage. Her singing affected Morgoth himself and brought Beren back from the dead - both unprecedented events which were accomplished by no other persons in Arda.

Daeron was said to be the mightiest of the three greatest Elven musicians. He often played as Lúthien sang and danced.

The picture thus unites both vocal and instrumental music as well as depicting two of the most influential and important musicians in Tolkien's works.

Oh, and it's beautiful! I can't access Anke's homepage at the moment; when I can do so, I will post a link for those of you who would like to see the picture.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:22 PM   #2
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I like Eissmann's art because unlinke Howe and Lee it's not as clear, not as sharp if you will.

Wonderful picture, and I never would have expected it to be a brand-new one.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:55 PM   #3
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What's fascinating as well about the cover illustration is how it symbolises the relationship between Daeron and Luthien.

Daeron occupies the foreground of the left side of the illustration and he faces forward toward the reader/spectator, with his back towards Luthien. He is not looking directly at her at all. His eyes are, however, wide open. Luthien, on the other hand, occupies the background of the right side of the composition. Her eyes are closed and she faces away from the direction of the music, away from Daeron and toward the right frame of the illustration. Daeron is slightly obscured by a few large leaves and branches whereas Luthien is framed by small leaves, walking in mid-thigh grass.

As with all of Anke Eissmann's illustrations for Tolkien, this one is very rich, clearly placed significantly within the story, yet highly original.

It is quite wonderful that she created a new illustration for the book.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:43 AM   #4
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I now have the link to Anke Eissmann's home page. If you haven't explored it before, you'll be astonished over her wonderful artwork!

I can't link directly to the cover picture; you can find it here by scrolling down to "Daeron and Lúthien (2008)".

Anke's illustrations are featured on a number of covers of books published by Walking Tree. Normally an existing picture was used, but there was none for the theme of music. When we first talked about possibilities, we very soon found ourselves "on the same page" of Middle-earth for the subject. I am delighted over her beautiful painting.

Bęthberry, I find your analysis of the picture very interesting; the two persons depicted are linked only by something invisible - the music!
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:07 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Nice to know

While I've always liked Anke's art very much, and thought that the choice of Daeron and Luthien was perfectly appropriate as a cover for the book, I didn't know that it was specifically commissioned for that purpose.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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here it is ...

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Old 05-10-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Daeron occupies the foreground of the left side of the illustration and he faces forward toward the reader/spectator, with his back towards Luthien. He is not looking directly at her at all. His eyes are, however, wide open.
Huh?! But Daeron's eyes are closed as well! He seems totally concentrated on his music.

This is another lovely picture by Anke Eissmann. (I recently enjoyed very much looking at her pictures and sketches at the Seminar in Jena.)
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Guinevere View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
Daeron occupies the foreground of the left side of the illustration and he faces forward toward the reader/spectator, with his back towards Luthien. He is not looking directly at her at all. His eyes are, however, wide open.

Huh?! But Daeron's eyes are closed as well! He seems totally concentrated on his music.
In my copy (On my copy? ), his eyes are two-toned, which gives the appearance of whites of the eyes with a darker, shaded spot that could be iris and cornea. Although the bottom of his eyes have a dark liner (possibly lashes), it really does not, to me, look like a closed eyelid in the same way as Luthien's.

Many things besides beauty are in the eye of the beholder?
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:07 AM   #9
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I see what you mean, looking from far away it really might give that impression!

But if you click on Esty's link above and enlarge the picture, you see the eyelids and lashes quite clearly .
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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Thumbs up

That is a beautiful picture and if I haven't done so already Esty, I congratulate you (and any other people here involved in it) for getting this book out in print!
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:41 PM   #11
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That is a beautiful picture and if I haven't done so already Esty, I congratulate you (and any other people here involved in it) for getting this book out in print!
So do you enjoy Anke Eissmann's artwork more than Tolkien's, Skip? (old reference there-- )

The difference between what I see in the cover illustration and what others see is, I think, very interesting. It raises several questions about the nature of illustrative art and of the authority of art in reproductions.

First of all, I've tried very hard to "see" closed eyelids in the book cover illustration. I cannot. I cannot eradicate the image of the irises and the whites of Daeron's eyes to see a solid eyelid. I'm sure many of you who are reading this thread will suggest either that I stop imbibing questionable substances or that I get new prescription lens. But bear with me a bit . . .

My interpretation shows my reading of Daeron in The Silm, The Book of Lost Tales, and The Lay of Leithian. I don't like him, that is, I don't respect him, as a character. Despite his great musical abilities and his creation of runes, he is a snitch and a sneak and a spy, an informer and a betrayer. He is the agent of Thingol's patriarchal control over Luthien. His first betrayal arises from the despicable motivation of jealousy while his second arises from a misogynistic sense that Luthien should not be a free agent to act of her own wishes. It is interesting that originally the character was Luthien's brother, as he acts very similarly to brothers in well-known, documented cases of "honour killings." True that he does not kill Luthien (and true also that Thingol apparently claims to have Luthien's best interests at heart), yet both men operate under the assumption that they have the right to coersce a woman into obeying their wishes for her, that they have authority over her body and mind. Perhaps this issue of control is what also inspires Daeron's great musical abilities--his ability to influence others according to his command. To me, it's no great surprise that Luthien prefers Beren.

So what I take with me from the story is less those moments when the two danced and played in the greenland before Beren arrived than those moments when Daeron was losing her to Beren. Eissmann's illustration, with its heavily lined, curved eyebrows and dark lining suits l. 841 of the Lay, "while Daeron watched with fiery eyes." Nor is it a happy face, as the brow seems, if not furrowed, then tense. I don't see any serenity there. I see a deeply frustrated man who is losing his (apparent or assumed) control over the woman he loves.

So this reading of the illustration raises the question of the relationship between an illustration and the original written text. Does the illustration exist as an independent work of imagination or is it bound by the ur-document? When does a work of art achieve independence and supremacy over it's own inspiration?

The other issue is the authority of the cover illustration over the original artwork or over internet versions. If someone sees something in a book cover, is that interpretation necessarily invalidated by the work in a different form? Reproduction changes art and who is to say that the bookcover is any less important in inspiring interpretation than another form?

I could be reading the illustration from the darkest passages of the story rather than the lighter ones, but those dark passages are, to me, one of the really intriguing aspects of Tolkien's story, so that is what resonates with me.
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:10 PM   #12
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Anke

I shan't get into the question of the eyes - oh, all right then, I will! Obviously closed.

I too like Anke's work. I find her palette is very much like that of Alan Lee; very subtle: though her draughtsmanship is sufficiently her own so as not to be confused with Lee's work. I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Anke several times at various Tolkien related 'do's'. I find her very charming; and modest with it. I remember sitting behind Anke once at a Tolkien seminar. We were all listening to one of the speakers, and Anke was doodling with a pencil on a pad; gradually an image of Faramir appeared on the paper. I (half jestingly) asked if this might be for sale, but no - it was something she wanted to use, so no dice there. But there was a sale of some of her art at Oxonmoot a couple of years ago; held at Christchurch, and I was happy to buy one of her pieces then. Happy day!

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Old 05-16-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
So do you enjoy Anke Eissmann's artwork more than Tolkien's, Skip? (old reference there-- )
Won't forgive me for that, eh?

I do enjoy Eissmann's work though (and yes I do think she is a more adapt illustrator than Tolkien was) at least most of what I've seen. I suppose the facial features and expression are a bit hit and miss for me though, sometimes they are spot on (like here with Daeron, I agree) other times they don't really work for me. Obviously that is very subjective, what works great for me may be off for someone else and vice versa.

Can't help to throw in a defensive speech for Daeron though. While I understand why you dislike him, and he certainly acts like a jerk, we should not forget that he (this is how I read him anyway) is also a very tragic character. I mean, for millennia he has poured his soul into wonderful inventions like the Runes and becoming the greatest musician ever to live among the Elves, no doubt in the vain hope that she would finally fall in love with him like he is in love with her, as he has been in love with her as long as he can remember. But she, she just sees him as a good friend (can't you just imagine her saying "you're just like a brother to me", and smiling sunnily? You know, he nods concealing his bitterness).

Then enters a shabby mortal man, an trespasser at that, and immediately she falls head over heels in love with this new rival. I think it is very understandable that he lets his jealousy and bitterness overcome him a bit... I mean, ouch, that's gotta hurt!
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:19 AM   #14
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The best place to see Anke's art (besides her exhibitions of course) is her website. Of course better still is at home (I have a picture of Gandalf in my study). But not wishing to rival any of that, I have assembled all book covers Anke did for Walking Tree Publishers onto a single page. You can enlarge them by clicking.

http://www.walking-tree.org/covers/?...=anke_eissmann
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:20 PM   #15
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I really admire Anke's work, Shadowfax (and have several of her prints). Thanks for bringing all those covers together.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:42 AM   #16
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Thumbs up Nice to see them together!

It's nice to see Anke's covers all together, shadowfax! Thanks for doing that!
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