Back in September, I decided to revisit a couple of dinosaur books from my childhood. I still have them and hadn't really looked at them in years and I wanted to see just how far the field of paleontology has come in the last 50 years or so (the books being written in '59 and '60). Surprisingly, the only really obvious 'mistakes' were in bone structure, where and how the legs attached to the body. I know that they now know that it would have been impossible for some of these behemoths to even hold their own weight had their legs jutted out from the sides instead of below the body.
But, even more revealing to me, was just how much the artwork (in Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Reptiles, 1960) by Rudolph F. Zallinger had an impact on me as a little fledgling artist. Although, structurally inaccurate, the images of the dinosaurs and the surrounding environments captivated me when I was young. The artwork is beautiful with deep, rich colors that I had never seen before (or since) and upon reviewing them, I was almost immediately thrown back to those younger days and even felt some of the excitement that I used to feel when looking at them then. Very inspiring, actually. No wonder that I hung on to them all these years! One can almost feel the heavy atmosphere and humidity in these scenes. I tried then to recreate some of those dinosaur images when I was ten and the bottom sketch is one of those. I just couldn't get those deep blues and reds, but I know I had a blast trying! I think a little bit of Mr. Zallinger artwork is still rattling around in my work to this day and why wouldn't he be?
Here is a brief snippet about R.F.Z. from wikipedia:
Rudolph Franz Zallinger (November 12, 1919 - August 1, 1995) was an American-based artist notable for his mural The Age of Reptiles (1947) at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History and for the popular illustration known as March of Progress (1965), one of the world's most recognizable scientific images.
BiographyZallinger was born in Irkutsk, Siberia in 1919. He attended Yale’s School of Fine Arts on scholarships during the Great Depression, was trained as an illustrator, and he taught at Yale after graduation. The Peabody Museum hired him to paint the mural in 1943 at $40 a week, and Zallinger took a crash course in paleontology to prepare for the job. After that, the museum appointed him as the “artist in residence”, a position he held until his death.
I think a visit to Yale is in my future to see those murals.