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November 10, 2010
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Surtr, Fire of Ragnarok by samburley Surtr, Fire of Ragnarok by samburley
According to Norse mythology, Surtr is the god/demon who kills Freyr at Ragnarok and proceeds to cover the Earth in flames with his sword of fire. In coming up with this I was trying to think about how religion tied into early cultures and how those peoples may have believed the landscape around them to have been formed by their gods much in the same way that cosmos and natural phenomenon might have been explained.

© Sam Burley - Do not use without permission

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:iconskillzombie:
In the middle of the pitch black veil of the night you hear a monstrous crash in the distance. Normally, you would try to ignore something like this and return to your rest. However, this particular disturbance seems much more destructive and powerful than anything you have ever experienced before. A straining feeling in your chest begins; as if your body is telling you that there is something out there that you cannot face...something that is an incalculable level of destruction and evil. Leaving your shelter you immediately trek outside and are greeted by a truly horrifying and foreboding sight. Standing in the distance is gargantuan ogre, one who is none other than Surtr the demonic god himself. His sword, ablaze with the flames of the netherworld cleaves through the mountainous hills near him as if they were not even there. The once tall and mighty earthen peaks crumbled under the sheer weight of the blade and fell to the ground in heaps of rock and dust. The beast then looks onto the distance for any more viable targets that he should make into rather quick work of his blade. His body courses with the very flames of the netherworld itself as he continues his incalculable swath of destruction across the countryside. As you look on at this horrific scene, you soon realize something; there is nothing that can stop him. He will continue in the current pattern until your are within his path. Unless he were to be stopped, unless something were to intervene...it appears as though Surtr's reign may just be a bit more permanent than any of us could have ever thought it would be. Surtr, Fire of Ragnarok, created by *samburley, presents us with his own personalized depiction of the destruction and dark presence that the mythological being Surtr can create under his blazing gait.

I have to say that the artist has done quite a good job capturing the presence of scale in this piece. The beast really feels like a massive being that simply moves through the mountain range as if they were simply foothills in its path. The detailing on the mountains and other elements in the piece look really good and capturing the overall mood in the piece and draw the attention of the viewer directly in as if you're watching the destruction unfold firsthand. The detailing is done quite well and gives a very nice textural appearance to all of the compositional elements further developing throughout the creator's artistic personality in the image. The atmosphere is also spot-on with the rest of the image as it carries a heavy tenseness within it as well as managing to build upon the image itself and billows throughout the image. One can easily see that with the many design choices and style implemented, the artist really try to pull out all of the stops in order to build up on a dynamic and rather nicely detailed piece.

However, with the many things in this piece that works in the piece, there are still somethings that could be improved in this composition. For instance, while the detailing is nice, I have to say that it is a bit lacking when one takes a closer look to the mountains and even the trees in the foreground. A bit more fine-tuning to the primary compositional details can get that much more out of the piece in the quality department. Another thing you could have done was a better pronouncement of the lighting and shading effect. As Surtr was an a being of darkness and destruction, it just seems as though better adding to the shadows of the objects as well as the cast shadow on himself. Then you could add more contrast to the flames and molten cracks in the beast's skin as they appear a bit dim in the lighting in the piece. At the most, keep experimenting with the compositional elements of the piece and be sure to try some newer techniques that you haven't already. Doing so will help you find something new about your art that you may have never knew about yourself before.

Mythology has and always be a source of entertainment and inspiration for artwork and more stories. Each one depicting an epic struggle of good versus evil in battle after cataclysmic battle over the control of the land. Its with stories such as the ones in Norse mythology that we artists can immortalize them in a more modern view with a more traditional medium. Surtr, Fire of Ragnorok is a shining example of bringing a classic story into the view of the present so that many others can experience it in its immortalized form, for all to see. Good work *samburley, keep up with the experimentation and newer art design styles.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
37 out of 49 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconmetallearner:
Now when one thinks of Giants; one thinks of the big, dumb type similar found in "Jack & the Beanstalk" but never would I have thought that a giant could be something like this :jawdrop:

Norse Giants are NOTHING like the giants one reads in fairy tales, the Jotunn are literally beings of promordial chaos & Surtr; leader of the Muspellheim Jotunn show here gives testament of being an ABSOLUTE destroyer in the battle of Ragnarok!!

This image gives a sensation of both terror, awe & pure awesomness one gets when faced with a fire giant on unbelievable, gargantuan & colossal size!!!

The sight of mountains being carved as if they're cake is an immense & fearsome sight & this piece once again shows us the awesome appearance...
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
60 out of 62 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconjoedrums4ver:
joedrums4ver Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2014  New member Professional Digital Artist
I,m liking your work, but where is the main connection to war, if I may ask, is there a connection to reality of modern or future war{s}-civilizations, sex, religion, politics & money/drugs/pro-narco countries or peoples, & last our stupid ass government that I love so much & sacrificed so much for.
Reply
:icondriftas:
driftas Featured By Owner May 20, 2014
BRAVO!
Reply
:iconyoavsnake:
yoavsnake Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
AWESOME art, but Norse giants are actually quite human looking.
Reply
:iconphoexyael15:
Phoexyael15 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013
So Badass!!! I hope Hi-Rez will use this model for Smite if they release Surtr!
Reply
:icondmiguez:
dmiguez Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Gothmog! hahah
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:iconinfinitemirror:
InfiniteMirror Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013
Hitler's looking pretty good right now.
Reply
:iconmarcwulf:
Marcwulf Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013
This is my favorite Surtur picture now. It's absolutely terrifying, just as an image of the Destroyer of the universe should be. My only problem with it would be the horns are a bit too long for my personal taste, but it still looks completely amazing.
Reply
:iconwillheimus:
Willheimus Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Me andf Surtr have a lot in common
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:iconcrimsonthunder90:
CrimsonThunder90 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2013
See me rise, the mighty Surt
Destroyer of the universe
Bringer of flames and endless hurt
Scorcher of men and earth
Reply
:iconmarcwulf:
Marcwulf Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013
I was listening to that song as I was looking at this picture.

*Has the nickname of Surt among some friends*
Reply
:icongnascor:
Gnascor Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, amazing. Love the detail, love the motion of the piece. Awesome.
Reply
:icondavid-k-manuel:
David-K-Manuel Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Daaaaaamn. I love your work. Very epic themes and I enjoy the fact that your work is not overly labored, giving it a very genuine paint feel.
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:iconsamburley:
samburley Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Thanks! It's more overly labored than you might think :)
Reply
:iconneranella:
Neranella Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Epic and cool ! :happybounce:
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:iconking1cheetah:
King1cheetah Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
HOLY SHIT!!!!! O.O
Reply
:iconironmeeze01:
Ironmeeze01 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
this is epic scary if it were real but epic
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:icondragonmanx-90:
DragonmanX-90 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013
I don't say this often...but this is truly horrifying. I think I'd rather try to french kiss a dragon than even look at this guy!
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:iconletdragon:
Letdragon Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
Massive Surtr! :0
Reply
:icontheunknownskywalker:
TheUnknownSkywalker Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
Such a marvelous fantasy portrait.
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:iconmadmanmarv:
Madmanmarv Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
This is how i imagine the Norse giants to be and their leader surtr to look
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:iconars189zre:
ars189zre Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Nice
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:iconnerdy-viking:
Nerdy-Viking Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Surtr (Surt, Surtar, Surtur) is a strange and enigmatic figure throughout the myths. On one hand he technically was the first being in the universe, the first giant by all accounts, yet he hated Ymir and the jotun, and had no interest in the world when it was formed, or of the doings of the gods, giants, vanir, elves and dwarves. He sat within his realm, upon a throne of fire (personally I actually see him as a living volcano of sorts who lays dormant) until he saw the coming of Ragnarok..where upon he rode to Vidgrad plain near the battle's end, and slew many of the vanir, including Gerda, driving Frey to take his final stand and thrust his enchanted horn into the eye of the fiery demon, who erupted with so much power that his fires burned everything, the remaining gods, einerjar, jotun, draugr (from Hel's army, aka the walking dead if you don't know) vanir, elves and trolls, covering the world in ash and darkness.
Surtr portrayed here is quite primal looking and very much a giant that dwarfs all opposistion, sundering mountains with his mighty sword which burns brighter than the sun. Excellent work
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:iconsamburley:
samburley Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
Thanks for the history. Glad it meets your approval :)
Reply
:iconnerdy-viking:
Nerdy-Viking Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
no prob
Reply
:iconsinninginheaven:
sinninginheaven Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
THIS is a fucking big devil.
Reply
:iconironmeeze01:
Ironmeeze01 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012
This would be the worst way for the world to end
Reply
:iconmaazypaaz:
MaazyPaaz Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist
WHY CAnT I DRAW LIKE YOU!!!!!! YOU HAVE THE MOST TALENTED ART SKILLS I HAVE SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!!
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:icondemostenesjr:
demostenesjr Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012
this should be a magic card, is one of the best artworks ive seen here ever
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:icontravail-de-lame:
Travail-de-lame Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Wow that's a very great picture :#1: :blackrose:
Reply
:iconbasiliskcomics:
BasiliskComics Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That thing looks downright disturbing...


...awesome.
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:iconprinceinferno:
PrinceInferno Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
one of the most badass things iv ever seen. thank you!
Reply
:icondragonmaximus:
dragonmaximus Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
bellissimo
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:iconsenorslipshot:
SenorSlipShot Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012
This! This is why we can't have nice things!
Reply
:iconsamburley:
samburley Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
LOL!!
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:iconrumietta:
Rumietta Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
Masterpiece
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:iconutriv:
utriv Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
WHO! GAVE! ME! DECAAAAAFFF???????!!!!!! lol
Reply
:iconban---kai:
BAN---KAI Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow if this was submited to the RIFT competition it would have won 100%
Reply
:iconawxen:
Awxen Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I was directed to this masterpiece courtesy a show called "game theory" and it has dominated my desktop for a long time!
Reply
:iconlordofnifelheim:
LordOfNifelheim Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
For those whose knowledge of Norse mythology isn't what it used to be (and doesn't feel the need to read the eddas) here is a little background.

Gylfaginning. (Prose edda)

IV. Frá Niflheimi ok Múspelli

…Yet first was the world in the southern region, which was named Múspell; it is light and hot; that region is glowing and burning, and impassable to such as are outlanders and have not their holdings there. He who sits there at the land's-end, to defend the land, is called Surtr; he brandishes a flaming sword, and at the end of the world he shall go forth and harry, and overcome all the gods, and burn all the world with fire; thus is said in Völuspá:

Surtr fares from the south | with switch-eating flame,--
On his sword shimmers | the sun of the War-Gods;
The rock-crags crash; | the fiends are reeling;
Heroes tread Hel-way; | Heaven is cloven."

LI. Frá ragnarökum

…The Midgard Serpent shall blow venom so that he shall sprinkle all the air and water; and he is very terrible, and shall be on one side of the Wolf. In this din shall the heaven be cloven, and the Sons of Múspell ride thence: Surtr shall ride first, and both before him and after him burning fire; his sword is exceeding good: from it radiance shines brighter than from the sun; when they ride over Bifröst, then the bridge shall break, as has been told before. …

Think you should read both edda, Norse mythology rules:
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:icondamonandsky:
DamonandSky Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2012
God is one way to put it...

Surtr technically isn't actually a God as being both a Jotun and also not ever reverend like one. Family's of the Gods are only limited to the Aesir and the Vanir, however, there are other beings such as Aegir who are Jotun yet held highly. Comparing to a demon makes more sense, but still isn't quite the ticket either.

It's no huge mistake though many in modern terms think of the Jotuns as being comparable to both demons and Gods, not to mention everyone makes the mistake of believing Loki is a God. Loki is the trickster, he has nothing to do with fire, and he actually isn't related to the Gods. Though many speculate that Odin taking Loki as a blood brother is actually a sign they are brothers, this is just speculation with no evidence provided.

An excellent portrayal, however, of this cataclysmic being. Really grab the focus of Surtr being an absolute destroyer from his primal roar to the garments on his skin and the jutting spikes and horns covering his clothes and head. Also, the magma-rock left from his slicing blade biting the mountain is an excellent effect. Really brings the fire out.
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:iconsamburley:
samburley Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012
Heh, thanks for the clarification.
Reply
:iconjacob-cross:
Jacob-Cross Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012
Awesome...
Reply
:icondanpilla:
DanPilla Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
amazing!
Reply
:iconmaladek:
Maladek Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing ! That's exactly how I imagine me Surtr. He is ..... Woah .... OO
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:iconlunaruno:
lunaruno Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
awsome man or woman i rely like surtur hes awsome
Reply
:iconthemarine249:
TheMarine249 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
I dont think that the Kraken has anything on Surtur.
Reply
:icondem0n-be:
dem0n-be Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
this is amazing. so much energy. nice job!
Reply
:icondorianoart:
DorianoArt Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012  Professional Artist
Terrific! Great Image!
Reply
:iconsamburley:
samburley Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012
Thanks!
Reply
:iconteleportsofia:
teleportsofia Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
extreme masterpiece!!!
Reply
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