The Evolution of Paleontological Art
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fossils have stirred the imagination globally for thousands of years, starting well before they were recognized as the remains of once-living organisms and proxies of former worlds. This volume samples the history of art about fossils and the visual conceptualization of their significance starting with biblical and mythological depictions, extending to renditions of ancient life as it flourished in long-vanished habitats, and on to a modern understanding that fossil art conveys lessons for the betterment of the human condition. The 29 papers and accompanying artwork illustrate how art about fossils has come to be a significant teaching tool not only about evolution of past life, but also about conservation of our planet for the benefit of future generations.
Illustrating the unknowable: Women paleoartists who drew ancient vertebrates
Published:February 24, 2022
Susan Turner*, Annalisa Berta, 2022. "Illustrating the unknowable: Women paleoartists who drew ancient vertebrates", The Evolution of Paleontological Art, Renee M. Clary, Gary D. Rosenberg, Dallas C. Evans
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Women have contributed to “paleoart” working in collaboration with scientists, using vertebrate fossils to reconstruct vanished worlds, and directly shaping the way humans imagine the distant past. “Backboned” animals of former times have been portrayed singly or in groups and were often set in landscape scenes. Women paleoartists in America and Europe began working in the nineteenth century often through family association, such as pioneers Orra White Hitchcock, Graceanna Lewis, and Mary Morland Buckland. Mainly using traditional two-dimensional styles, they portrayed ancient vertebrate fossils in graphite and ink drawings. Paleoartist Alice Bolingbroke Woodward introduced vibrant pen and watercolor reconstructions. Although female paleoartists were initially largely unrecognized, in the twentieth century they gained notice by illustrating important books on prehistoric vertebrate life. Paid employment and college and university training increased by the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, with larger institutions providing stable jobs. The “Dinosaur Renaissance” of the late 1960s gave a boost to new paleo-artistry. Women paleoartists became more prominent in the later twentieth to twenty-first centuries with the development of new art techniques, computer-based art, and use of the internet. Increasingly, there is encouragement and support for women paleoartists through the Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) movement.