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Connections: Frazetta and Jones


The helmeted, injured soldier in the lower left quadrant of Frank Frazetta’s Buccaneer/Destroyer painting and the helmeted, injured soldier/sailor in the lower left quadrant of Jeffrey Jones’s painting for Talbot Mundy’s The Purple Pirate are not exact copies of each other, as you can plainly see above, and yet, they do seem to share a certain family resemblance. So much so, that one might venture to guess that one of the painters has been “inspired by” the other in this detail… however, it’s not at all clear to me who was inspired by whom. Near as I can tell, the Jones cover was published first, in 1970; the Frazetta, second, in 1971. So make of that what you will…

Keywords: The Buccaneer, The Purple Pirate Talbot Mundy, L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter.

2 thoughts on “Connections: Frazetta and Jones

  1. Interesting that you chose to comment on that (truly fantastic, by the way) Frazetta painting in regards to swipes. The figure with his helmet on the ground, just right of centre at the bottom, was photo-referenced and/or borrowed from another artist (I forget which). When Mike Hoffman when on his anti-Frazetta rant in a blog a few years ago, he posted a number of photos which Frank used as source material (nothing wrong with that, by the way) in various paintings and drawings.

    One personal observation: the feel of this “Destroyer” painting (to me, anyway) is much like that of Theodore Gericault’s “Raft of the Medusa” with its similar lighting, splayed figures, and composition.

    Even the streak in the sky of Frazetta’s painting (a jet trail in the Hyborian age?!) seems to recall one of the ropes of the raft. This may all just be coincidence, of course.


  2. Although I do agree that “Raft of the Medusa” could easily have been a source for the composition, lighting, and colour of Frazetta’s “Destroyer” painting, what strikes me the most when I compare the two is how Gericault’s clear arrangement of carefully observed bodies in the space defined by the raft and his attempt to direct the viewer’s attention from the raft into a deep space stretching across the waves to the horizon (and possible rescue), contrasts with Frazetta’s unfortunate tendency to collapse the distances between the main elements in his pictures and visually push them towards the viewer while tricking out his backgrounds with time-saving, stock renditions of stormy skies, misty mountains, murky caverns, vine-choked jungles, and so on.

    Where Gericault’s painting seems to me to fail, though, is in the immediate transition between the raft and the space beyond, but then again, it’s no easy task to combine figures and props arranged in the studio with backgrounds observed from nature.


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