Monday, May 25, 2009

Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin

This is Andrej Dugin. And this is Olga Dugina. Both were born in Moscow - he in 1955, and she in 1964. Together, they are "Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin", famous for their gorgeous, gorgeous book illustrations.

Andrej Dugin studied art at the Surikov Arts Institute, before he went on to teach at the Krasnopenskaya Secondary Arts School, where Olga Dugina was his student. While teaching, he was also busy illustrating for publishing houses and magazines. And by 1985, the couple teamed up and got married. 4 years later, they were attached to an established publishing house in Russia, where they illustrated "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights" and "The Dragon's Feathers".

They have since moved to Stuttgart, where they live and work from.

from "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights"

Oh yes, their work is hyper-realistic, yet full of fantastic and fiercely out-of-this-world images. That's why I love, love, love their stuff. It reminds me of the Pre-Raphaelites, except these are spiced with Orientalism. It also harks back to the works of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Eyck, but with a much more cheerful airy-fairy treatment, which makes it so, so enjoyable to look at again and again.

"A feast for the eyes" is an understatement. From the detailing of the fabrics to gorgeous intricacies in the architecture, the waves of every strand of hair to the immaculate true-to-form of the human and animal anatomies.

from "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights"

Add to this, phantasmogorical, crazy imagery of a woman-cat and an elephant-bird, or a frog with a chameleon's tail and a man with a miniature camel's body... I swear, the details are endless.

Their technique is so traditional "fine brush". Their themes and expressions so classical, and yet their vision so completely out-of-this world. I tell you, it just takes my breath away.

Recently, they added another accolade to their portfolio, and that is their work for Madonna's book "The Adventures of Abdi", a lyrical story of a little boy's lessons on Fate and the importance of the acceptance of It.

The Queen puts a snake around her neck which turns into a necklace made from rubies and diamonds. To that I say, "Yeah, baby, YEAH!"

Oh, and lookee at what we have here. Her Highness Queen Madge herself. The couple are doing a series of portraits of the characters from Hamlet for an ongoing project, and I suppose Madonna decided to sit for one. This here is Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude.

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