rysowAnia, Tolkien Artist-of-the-Month: “Nienna”

“The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

Last week, I named rysowAnia my Tolkien Artist of the Month. This week, I take a look at “Nienna“, her portrait of the weeping Vala.
She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor. So great was her sorrow, as the Music unfolded, that her song turned to lamentation long before its end, and the sound of mourning was woven into the themes of the World before it began. But she does not weep for herself; and those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope.

– The Silmarillion

I really love how rysowAnia captures the spiritual essence of the Valar. Nienna, queen of tears, is here so mournful that she appears like a ghost in a waterfall, yet at the same time she beckons, as if to say “Come to me and learn pity.” In Tolkien’s works, the word “pity” always evokes the counsel of Gandalf (“It was pity that stayed [Bilbo’s] hand”). Thus, it is fascinating to note that Valaquenta mentions that Olórin (Gandalf) went “often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.”

Though I don’t know it to be a direct influence in this case, the imagery bears a striking similarity to “Mary Mother of Graces.” Of course, one of Mary’s other titles is “Mother of Sorrows.”
IR03545xxTune in next Monday when I’ll feature another one of rysowAnia’s pieces. In the meantime, hop on over to her DeviantArt gallery and check out the rest of her work.

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