Currently on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art, the "Donato Giancola: Adventures in Imagination" exhibit seems like a perfect fit for the Rocket City – artwork that's beautiful, smart, powerful, and maybe a little nerdy.

Giancola applies a love and respect for the classical masters to fantastic subjects, as a commercial artist creating illustrations for books and movies including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, as well as his own original visions of amazing worlds. 

The exhibit includes about 70 pieces from Giancola, covering decades of work and a variety of subjects, including a large new piece created specifically for this exhibition here. The artwork is captivating, whether one's interest is in his impressive technical artistic skill or in the fantasy and science fiction universes he captures.


Donato Giancola, Star Wars Galaxies, 2003, oil on panel, 45 x 57 in. framed

Donato Giancola, Star Wars Galaxies, 2003, oil on panel, 45 x 57 in. framed

And, for either, the exhibit is made richer for its inclusion of an exploration of Giancola's evolution as a fantasy artist, going back to simple sketches from Dungeons and Dragons games of his youth that laid the foundation for the work he does today.

At a reception for the opening of the exhibit, Giancola said that his focus is blending a love of art and storytelling.

He wanted to capture the feeling of the artwork of classic masters, and make that feeling more accessible in today's world. "I can't own a Caravaggio," he said, "but I can try to paint like Caravaggio, and put it in the world of Middle Earth."

Forging the iron throne

Donato Giancola, Forging the Iron Throne, 2014, oil on panel, 30 x 30 in.

"When I look back at the artists I'm inspired by, it's always fundamentally about story," he said, adding that his own growth as an artist was fueled by a growing appreciation of the stories of the characters he painted. "My foundation of what I do as an artists needed to be vested with people."

"I hope visitors come away with an appreciation for the human-to-human story in what I do, even when they're fantastical worlds, and to see how fantasy can be a vehicle for telling their own stories."

This is the second time an exhibit of Giancola's work has been on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art; the last exhibit, in 2013, featured an almost completely different collection of his art.

"Donato Giancola: Adventures In Imagination" will be on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art until January 22, 2023. More information can be found at the Museum's website.