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Abstract

Geologist Yves Milon, the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences of Rennes, hired the painter Mathurin Méheut in 1941 to produce a large mural decoration for the new Geological Institute. This resulted in a little known 130 m2 artwork that includes a Mesozoic triptych, the genesis of which is described here. The work was executed during the World War II, when Milon's illegal activities in several English intelligence services-led Resistance movements possibly prevented him from supervising the artist's work and which led to some anatomical inaccuracies. This decoration has survived several threats and constitutes a unique example of a large decorative palaeontological artwork in France. It has a special place in the history of dinosaur reconstructions as the choice of a decorative painting style is far from the usual forms of natural history illustration.

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