When I think of Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth these days, I picture the world Peter Jackson created. I mostly liked the way the books were adapted for film, and the casting was spot on. I’ve seen them so many times that I picture the scenes when I reread the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, but if I had copies of the Russian editions of the trilogy featuring these illustrations that wouldn’t be the case. These medieval-style and sometimes trippy pieces were done by Sergei Iukhimov (a/k/a Sergey Yuhimov) in a 1993 Russian release of the epic fantasy.
The art has a religious iconography look about it and also reminds me of the kind of images used in illuminated manuscripts. The colors are deep and rich, and Iukhimov has managed to make creatures like the Balrog and the Ringwraiths look even more sinister. While some may not like seeing Middle-earth dressed up as the Middle Ages, you can’t help but appreciate the unique vision of Tolkien’s tale about Frodo Baggins and the ring.
Iukhimov has tackled a variety of scenes from Lord of the Rings including what appears to be the meeting of Strider at The Prancing Pony, the death of Boromir, and Gandalf’s arrival in Bag End. It even looks like he did drawings for The Silmarillion and The Hobbit. You can view some of his original art for sale at The Tolkien Shop.
Frodo had a quest to take the ring to Mordor, and now I’m on a mission to track down editions of Tolkien’s work with Iukhimov’s art.