Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Biblical Beefcake by Dirk!

Adam in the Garden of Eden, or: Mowgli grows up!

I thought that title might get your attention! And no, this isn't the scene at the offices of Hungry Tiger Press, but an illustration of Adam in the Garden of Eden from a book of Bible stories illustrated by Oz book illustrator Dirk Gringhuis a few years before he illustrated Hidden Valley of Oz (1951).

Marian's Favorite Bible Stories was first published in July 1948 by Erdmans Publishing company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The stories are adapted by the titular Marian M. Schoolland. Dirk supplied a dozen full page color plates like the one above. The book stayed in print for decades and eventually got a new pictorial cover design which certainly looks like more of Dirk's work to me. The back cover of this latter edition says: "The pictures are new and exciting, with all the appeal of full-color paintings, and are done by a nationally-known illustrator of children's books."  The adaptation contains sixty-three stories. Surprisingly it jumps from Daniel in the Lion's Den straight into the New Testament.

I wonder if Dirk enjoyed painting Bald Eagles? He has placed one in the Garden of Eden, and you'll see a few more flying in to watch Sampson wrestle a lion down below.

Cover used on some later printings of the book.

I have seen this book on eBay many times but only recently broke down and purchased one. Copies are usually on sale for less than ten dollars. The book also has illustrated endpapers that are very reminiscent of Dirk's Hidden Valley illustrations.

I had initially hoped there might be a picture of David slaying Goliath and I thought I might make a cute blog post referencing Jam doing battle with Terp the Terrible. But Dirk didn't choose to illustrate that scene, which seems a bit odd, but so be it. We'll have to settle for some Biblical beefcake!

Sampson wrestles the Cowardly Lion.


Sam said...

It's a pity Dirk didn't do colour illustrations for "Hidden Valley" like he did here ... they appear much nicer than the b&w line ones.

David Maxine said...

Indeed, I'll be sharing even more of his early work, which was mostly in color. Much of his illustration work before HIDDEN VALLEY is quite attractive.