Thursday, March 8, 2012

The big bad - really bad - wolf

While hunting for collage images and thumbing through a bound volume of The Chatterbox the other night, I came across this riveting illustration from the March 1879 issue. It's an original work for the magazine by Gustave Dore - the 19th century master of the dramatic, literary illustration - and puts to rest any notion that today's children's books are scarier than ever.

Just look at that wolf - the sharp claws above the covers; the focused, evil gaze - you can almost feel his hot breath. And poor little Red - plump and wide-eyed, you know that if this was a video, she'd be trembling in fear and if it was a color print, she'd be rosy-cheeked.

It's a tribute to Dore's skill that so much can be read into a black & white engraving - and how timeless the image is.

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