Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Michael Kaluta's 'Metropolis'

I have only just discovered Michael Kaluta's work, thanks to picking up an old compilation of fantasy art published by Paper Tiger. He has a wonderful, organic pen and ink style which reminds me a lot of Mucha. I was excited to learn that in 1989 he published an illustrated version of Metropolis. I have not managed to pick up a copy yet, but from the images I can find it looks stunning.

Lang's film is based on a novel by his wife, Thea Von Harbou. She wrote the book with the intention that it be filmed, and later went on to pen the film's script. It is this literary version that Kaluta has used for his illustrated book.

I like the way Kaluta has clearly drawn on the designs employed by Lang, but evolved them in a stylised manner. Weirdly his vision feels even more Deco than the movie. The film is quite stark and  Brutalist in its set design. Arguably Lang eschewed the popular Deco style of the time for a more progressive aesthetic in order to make his film feel more 'futuristic' to its initial audience.


  1. Kaluta's style and use of typography reminds me of Roger Dean's work.

  2. Very cool. Dude's draughtsmanship is killer. Reminds me of Iain McCaig, who obviously came after.

  3. I'm not sure if you've ever visited Sci-Fi-O-Rama website. It's a prefect source of old school sci-fi and fantasy art...

  4. Yes, I think there is quite a lot of work from the 70s and 80s that harks back to Art Deco and Nouveau. Thanks for the link Kari - I've been a fan of Sci-Fi-O-Rama for quite a while. It's a great resource.