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Howard Pyle’s Art: Pirates to Robin Hood

American author and illustrator Howard Pyle had a huge influence on modern popular culture. He died in 1911 and you can see his influence in movies, television and books today. He transformed Robin Hood from a villain to a hero. He defined the look of pirates and positioned them as fearless adventurers.

His first full length work was a highly successful interpretation of the Robin Hood stories called The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.

He wove various tales of Robin Hood into a single cohesive narrative, but he was happy to alter the original stories, so any child could pick one of his books and be gripped. Pyle used pirates in many adventure stories. He invented the flamboyant romantic garb that has become standard issue for any tale about piracy these days.

By 1900 Pyle founded his own art school – the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. He instructed many great artists including the great N.C. Wyeth, and it became known as the Brandywine School style of illustration. Read more.

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