If you want to see a fantasy artist who to this day transcends the genre, you need look no farther than Gustave Doré. His best work –and even the worst is far above the best of most other artists–is still in print today, easily attainable in inexpensive editions and prints. Chances are you’ve all already seen his work, even if you didn’t know his name.
Of particular interest to those of us interested in fantasy are his monumental illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy, Orlando Furioso, Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and even Cervantes’s Don Quixote. They are a bit formal compositionally, at least by today’s standards, but nonetheless powerful. His visions of hell were as borderline scandalous when issued as Dante’s work had been when it was first issued.
All of the illustrations presented below are steel (or, in some cases, wood) engravings. He was also highly regarded as a painter in his day.