Of all the excellent contributors to the 1962 edition of Reader's Digest Condensed Books we're looking at this week, my favourite has to be this series by Ben Stahl.
Long ago I purchased a book of drawings and sketches by Gustav Doré. When I saw this moody series by Stahl I was immediately reminded of the art in that book. Stahl's beautiful ink and wash drawings really evoke an earlier time and place...
... and his very personal style is immediately appealing and gives the artwork a kind of magical quality.
This is not straight representational historical documentation...
... there is an air of the storybook fairytale to this work.
And while Stahl surely drew upon classical art for his own inspiration, there is something thoroughly modern about the artist's stylization...
Born in a different time and place, I could imagine Ben Stahl designing the people and environments in a Tim Burton film!
This very classical look has come full circle in the 21st century and is once again evident in the work of artists like James Jean and Jill Thompson.
I've written about Stahl before ( though not recently). For those interested in reading a bit about the artist, click here.
... and to read an astonishing story of the theft of Stahl's original art, click here.
* My Ben Stahl Flickr set.