Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Artfest: Conan the Destroyer by Frank Frazetta

Conan the Destroyer by Frank Frazetta

This 1971 painting by Frank Frazetta is one of my all-time favorite depictions of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the barbarian; but even if it were not of that amazing character it would be one of my favorite works by Frazetta.

The painting encapsulates so much of Frazetta’s style.

The fluid movement conveyed by Conan and the horde that seems to materialize out of the mists of the desert storm seems so real that you can almost hear the bite of metal into flesh and bone and the cries of the dying. The grim determination on Conan’s face as he mercilessly swings that axe down into his foes time and time again moves him beyond the wild barbarian and closer to some pagan god of battle.

When I look at this painting it makes me wonder what started this madness. But more than that it makes me wonder who these men are that upon seeing the deaths of so many of their comrades just keep coming on like mindless sheep to the slaughter. What bounty could move them so? What fear?

I tell you that when it comes to how I envision Conan in the books he is more often colored by Frazetta’s vision for the character than any other source.

Incidentally, according to Bleeding Cool and a plethora of other websites this painting sold for $1.5 million in July of 2010 to a private collector at the San Diego Comic Con.

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