Dueling Wizards was rendered and painted by Mary GrandPré who created the original artwork for the American edition of the Harry Potter book series. This image is inspired from a dramatic standoff in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5 of the series) between Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort.
Mary GrandPré is an American illustrator with a long career in advertisement, magazines, and books, most notably JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. She has also dabbled in some filmwork creating backdrops for DreamWork's Antz movie. To create the illustrations for the Harry Potter books, she was given the manuscript of the book long before its official book release. She would read through the manuscript and highlight scenes she felt would look well visually. Those images were all sent to the editor who chose which ones to include in the book. After the book series ended, Mary GrandPré released many of the Harry Potter illustrations that did not make the cut for the book print.
Harry James Potter (b. 31 July 1980) was a half-blood wizard, who was the only child and son of the late James and Lily Potter (néeEvans), and one of the most famous wizards of modern times. In what proved to be a vain attempt to circumvent a prophecy that stated that a boy born at the end of July of 1980 could be able to defeat him. Lord Voldemort tried to murder him when he was a year and three months old. Voldemort murdered Harry's parents as they tried to protect him, shortly before attacking Harry. This early unsuccessful attempt to vanquish Harry led to Voldemort's first downfall, marking the end of the First Wizarding War and to Harry henceforth being known as the "Boy Who Lived."
One consequence of Lily's loving sacrifice was that her orphaned son had to be raised by her only remaining blood relative, his Muggleaunt Petunia Dursley. While in her care he would be protected from Lord Voldemort, due to the Bond of Blood charm Albus Dumbledoreplaced upon him. This powerful charm would protect him until he became of age. As the only known survivor of the Killing Curse (up to that point), Harry was already famous before he arrived at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
On his eleventh birthday, Harry learned that he was a wizard. He began attending Hogwarts in 1991 and was Sorted into Gryffindor House. While at school, Harry became best friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and later became the youngest Quidditch Seeker in over a century and eventually the captain of his house's team, winning two Quidditch Cups. He became even better known in his early years for protecting the Philosopher's Stonefrom Voldemort, saving Ron's sister Ginny Weasley, solving the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, slaying Salazar Slytherin's basilisk, and learning how to conjure a corporeal stag Patronus at the age of thirteen. In his fourth year, Harry won the Triwizard Tournament, although the competition ended with the tragic death of Cedric Diggory and the return of Lord Voldemort. During the next school year, Harry reluctantly taught and led Dumbledore's Army. He also fought in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, during which he lost his godfather, Sirius Black.
About Mary GrandPre:
Mary GrandPre has illustrated all of the American editions of the Harry Potter novels. She was one of the few people who were able to read the Harry Potter books before they were released to the general public. When she received each new book, she read the story through once, highlighting descriptions that she felt would do well as an illustration. She then created various sketches as ideas for the cover and chapter art, before sending her favorites to the editors to decide which should appear in the final publication. GrandPre is very careful to make sure that her illustrations give hints as to what will happen in each chapter or within the book, without making it very obvious where the plot is headed. GrandPré does not collaborate with J.K. Rowling at all. Mary GrandPré was born in South Dakota, but spent most of her life in Minnesota. She began drawing when she was only five years old, beginning with a reproduction of Mickey Mouse. By age ten, she was imitating Salvador Dalí, experimenting with stretched objects painted with oils, before graduating to copying black and white photos from the encyclopedia. GrandPré graduated from Pomona College with a degree in fine arts, and in her mid-twenties chose to go back to school, earning a degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After her graduation, GrandPré spent several years as a waitress while working to be noticed by ad agencies and attempting to find her own style. Her drawing evolved into what she calls "soft geometry," featuring pastels used in a "colorful, light-hearted, and whimsical" manner. Her work is created completely by hand, without using a computer In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, GrandPré depicts the character Severus Snape as a balding man with a goatee, even though he is constantly described as having greasy, shoulder-length black hair.