18 thoughts on “Look Here: Two “Venus” covers by Esteban Maroto

  1. I’d don’t know for sure, Li-An. But on this Comic Art Fans page featuring Esteban Maroto’s painting for ERB’s Wizard of Venus, the medium is listed as “Paint – Oil.” If that information is correct, then it seems likely that the images on the two covers that I posted from the same series are also oil paintings.

    A word of caution, however: I have seen other cover paintings by Maroto from about the same period posted online where the medium is listed as acrylic or gouache, so it may be that one of those two mediums is really the answer…

    But I actually do think they’re oil paintings.


  2. It is a bit unusual, is it not, to come across paintings that use so much of this colour:

    Maroto has used another green in those paintings, too, but I’m not sure what it is… Permanent Green, maybe…

    Hm… a bluish green and a yellowish green… those two colours clash, don’t they?

    P.S. Other yellowish greens: Cadmium Green, Chromium Oxide Green, Olive Green, Sap Green, etc. Other bluish greens: Alizarin Green Lake, Cobalt Green, Turquoise Green, Viridian, etc.


  3. I am pretty sure that both these covers have “strange” colors due to the saturation levels when they were printed, particularly an over-saturated cyan plate. This is what happened to “Daybreak” in the cover of the Maxfield Parrish book bu Coy L. Ludwig, and the Illo. from Snow Queen by Dulac in the cover of Brigit Pippin’s Fantasy. I think it was a common problem in the seventies…


  4. You’re probably right, Jose. Those covers do have an especially intense glow about them…

    And yet, I hope you’re up for a little friendly discussion, because if you look at Maroto’s “Panther Girl” painting, you’ll see that the artist has again combined a bluish green (in the sky and as an underpainting for the tree roots and deadfall) with a yellowish green (on the lighted sides of the roots and deadfall). And look at the reddish-purple shadow below the girl: by what pictorial logic did Maroto arrive at that colour for the shadow? All the artist would have to do is to make the figures of the girl and the big cats smaller, so they’re drowning in Pthalocyanine, and I think you’d have a painting that appears every bit as oddly coloured as those two Venus paintings.

    P.S. The problem that you have diagnosed, Jose, might not be a problem with the printing. It might be a problem with the scans, which are certainly not up to professional standards. Mea cupla!


  5. I have just rescanned and reuploaded the Pirates of Venus cover. I thought it might make a difference, but I don’t think it makes much difference…

    Does it look better to you, Li-An?


  6. Well… I guess that means I’m the only one here who has a “problem” with the actual combination of colours used in the paintings.

    Of course, this is not the first time that I’ve been out on a limb alone on this blog — LOL! — and I am certain it won’t be the last.


  7. Hi RC:
    Looking at the Panther Girl painting, I agree that it has the same palette, but the important difference is that the covers reproduced are either heavy on the cyan, or lacking in the magenta and hello plates. You can see a lot of warm colors in the panther girl that are missing in the paperback figures. If you take the scan, change it to CMYK in photoshop, go to channels and play with the levels of the channels individually, you will see the difference…. In any case, Maroto is not known for his colors, even though he has done a good number of paintings his best regarded work remain in black and white….


  8. I can email you what I mean if you like, since I cannot post it in this message.


  9. No, that’s okay. I understand what you mean.

    I just think it’s not generally advisable to combine yellowish and bluish greens in the way the Maroto has in those paintings. Also, Maroto seems not to understand precisely how the colour of a light source alters the colours of the objects under that light source or how to determine shadow colours under various conditions.

    Even if you don’t agree with my specific analysis, however, you at least concede that “Maroto is not known for his colors, even though he has done a good number of paintings.” And I’m happy to leave it at that.

    Finally, I think you are right in your assessment of where Maroto’s strengths lie: his black-and-white work is extremely attractive, and much admired — much more so than his paintings! — although I have to say that I personally am somewhat less than enamoured with his over-use of swipes from his contemporaries.


  10. Maroto’s swipes are indeed his weak point. in addition to swipes of Jeff Jones and other artists working at the time, swipes from Mucha and other recognizable sources make his work, IMHO, less than classic. The same can be said some of his Spanish contemporaries such as Fernando Fernandez and others,,,

    Swiping was such a problem in comics in the 60’s and 70’s… The era of the internet has made it harder to get away with….


  11. I’m a little lost with the conversation. What do you call “swipe” ? Can you give a link to a picture with such problems ?


  12. Here’s another:

    Connections: Frank Frazetta vs. Esteban Maroto

    And another (but this one doesn’t involve Maroto):

    Connections: Gustave Courbet vs. Suehiro Maruo

    Sometimes, a swipe is really just a visual quotation or allusion that enriches a new work in some way — it may point towards parody or satire, or it may deepen the meaning of an image or sequence, or it may be nothing more than one artist’s “hommage” to another, and so on. Other times, however, it’s a sign of laziness or failure of imagination or deadline pressure, or whatever.


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