Pen and ink with wash
Sheet: 28 x 19 cm (11 x 7 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Don Hunter 1954.652
The design for the dragon in this illustration derives from one of the black and white vignettes placed over the chapter titles in the 1909 edition of Undine illustrated by Rackham.
One of the best-known book illustrators of his time, Rackham worked at the turn of the 20th century in the period now sometimes described as the genre's golden age. His style combined intricate line work with delicate coloring to create scenes that were timeless, mysterious, and sometimes dark. This combination was particularly well suited for fantasy subjects like fairytales, Nordic and Germanic legends, and the dragon in this illustration, first published in his Book of Pictures of 1913. The beast's sinuous body echoes the lines describing the trees' gnarly trunks, roots, and branches, and the ripples of the water in the stream, highlighting its unity with the nature that surrounds it. Rackham evokes a world both similar and different to our own, where nature is both magical and dangerous.
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