And no fire without dragons!
Well, maybe some bonfire, campfire, foxfire, wildfire… you could probably name even more “fires” out there that have nothing to do with a dragon. But if you want a truly epic and legendary fire, then you simply can not do without one. And the same goes to mythology. The idea of a dragon is so powerful and inspiring that I could risk a statement that there is no man in the whole world that does not know what the monster is. Giant reptilian winged fire-breathing creature – that is the most widespread concept of the beast coming directly from the Indo-European mythologies. But is there anything more behind that picture?
Let’s refer to the Encyclopaedia.
Dragon became a staple creature of the contemporary fantasy literature and art. I doubt there is a single fantastic universe that does not comprise dragons in some form. But the presence of dragons in our culture is a topic for a huge article, maybe even for some doctorate? Well, maybe later…
…and now for some art
There are tons of dragons on the internet – try a simple graphics search, it is absolutely overwhelming. I think there are more pictures of dragons than of all other creatures combined, I mean – these presented in MythoBlogy. Showing only a small percentage of the related artwork here would be impossible. So – no general reviews, no comparisons, no rankings. Instead I give you a simple, totally subjective gallery of my favorite pieces. Click the images to move to the source pages.
1. The featured image of this article, “Dragon’s Breath” by Grzegorz Rutkowski.
Fantastic lighting, with dense dark smoke contrasted with blazing yellow fire, which in turn is perfectly contrasted with the light-blue sky above the dragon in the very center… Flames reflecting in water puddles – unity of opposites at its best – just like in the mythology. And the small guy on a horse versus gigantic dragon – what is he doing there in the first place? Alone in this desolate landscape… Is he challenging the monster? Does he have any chance against the searing heat?
2. “Klauth” (?) by Nick Deligaris.
I like the colors. It is like emerging from hell through a volcano, summoned by some insane mage during a full moon… Would it eat the wizard? Incinerate him? Simply ignore and set off to conquer the world? Or maybe answer his questions?
That’s weird but this particular picture I found on pinterest, while none of the Nick’s official pages seem to contain it. There is, however, very similar painting but in completely different color palette and it is titled “Klauth”. Click here to see it and the whole awesome gallery with Nick’s artwork.
3. “Sun Dragon” by Kerem Beyit. Illustration for Draco Magi card game.
This is the last of the fiery ones. I think I’m a red-orange-yellow fan… Kerem definitely can paint dragons, but he also does nice non-dragon stuff!
4. Let’s cool down a bit with some more humid landscape. Double forest dragon goodness in “On the way” by Xiaodi Jin.
I love paintings which tell some tale and even more the ones that can be interpreted in various ways. Are these two beasts on the hunt? Or maybe they guard the people in boats? Or welcome them in the front of some temple of nature? Scene may be considered peaceful and tranquil or totally opposite – full of tension, seconds before the attack… Yum!
5. Another “White Dragon” by Tianhua Xu.
Did I mention that I fancy good contrasted paintings? And this one definitely depicts a chthonic monster, right from mythology. The question is “why it’s so clean”?
6. “Swamplands Dragon” by Gregory Holmes.
Being lost in a swamp might put you in a quite difficult position. And not only because it is a swamp. Wonder if the dragon eats a glowing critter or help him escape the landscape? Or maybe the man is there specifically to talk with the Swamp Lord? Imagination working full-time.
7. And now fore something more fairytale-like. “Dragon and Girl” by Irina Pechenkina.
Now, that is not a hunt for sure. And what is it? Irina wrote that this is artwork from some book, unfortunately I don’t know which one… We can only guess what the girl wants to ask the dragon and why there is a sad ogre in the back. Whatever the story, there is no aggression involved. And I must admit that the blue eye on the yellow dragon really catches the eye.
8. Another color switch, and completely different vision of a dragon. Humanoidal “Purple Dragon” by Jakub Różalski.
The composition, the lighting, the colors and the character… 30 minutes work, according to the description.
I’m featuring so much of Jakub’s art not only because he’s my friend. I’m doing it because he’s incredibly good at telling a story with each of his artwork. This one inspired me so much that I even started writing some short narrative, should I finish it some day I’ll let you all know. Unfortunately time is not on my side in this case. Maybe if I quit running this blog…
No chance, 3000 Encyclopaedia entries are waiting for translation! There is more about the Purple Dragon – just browse Jakub’s FB profile.
9. As we already went quite far from the Indo-European idea of a dragon, it is time for some Chinese taste. “Missive for the Golden Dragon” by Davide Molino.
Did you know that Chinese Dragon is actually not a dragon at all? It might resemble the Indo-European monstrous snake derivative, but the idea behind it is completely different. Loong, as it is the proper name, is a deity – not a monster – and it patronizes peace and prosperity. It is also extremely wise, uses magic etc. Frankly speaking, I am not sure if Davide wanted to paint a Loong, but I doubt that “western” dragons can read at all.
10. And to finish this gallery with a round number I chose the painting that will lead us to the next mythological creature. “Phoenix and Dragon” by Sunima.
So we get a fiery dragon battling a fiery bird (variation of a common mythical theme “Snake vs Eagle”). Nice dynamic painting, in my favorite colors. Actually Sunima is very good at painting dragons – some are even wolf-shaped (another chthonic Indo-European animal), thus there is no doubt that she had some Indo-European ancestors. I feel good sharing the same legacy.
End of the story, I hope you got inspired to dive into the vast ocean of dragon art. If you find something very special let me know!