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Symbiartic


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The Drawings Behind Charles R. Knight’s Famous Paintings


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If you’ve ever visited the great animal halls of New York’s American Museum of Natural History or Chicago’s Field Museum, you have seen the paintings of Charles R. Knight. Despite being legally blind (due to a childhood injury), his depictions of animals in their natural environments were unrivaled at the time. To this day, they are an integral part of the magic of some of our greatest museums.

As any artist knows, behind every impressive painting is an equally impressive drawing, so it may come as no surprise that Knight’s drawings are stunning in their own right. Along these lines, there’s a lovely book by Dover Press called Animal Drawing: Anatomy and Action for Artists that deserves attention as an excellent resource and collection of Knight’s animal studies. The drawings provide insight into how much knowledge Knight had about his subjects’ anatomy. For today’s SciArt Blitz, we offer you a sample:

Indian Elephant from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing

Indian Elephant from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing by Dover Press

Indian Elephant from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing

Indian Elephant from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing by Dover Press

Lioness from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing

Lioness from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing by Dover Press

Moose from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing

Moose from Charles R. Knight's Animal Drawing by Dover Press

Linkage:

Animal Drawing: Anatomy and Action for Artists by Charles R. Knight, Dover Press

A small portfolio of Knight’s paintings from the AMNH

The World of Charles R. Knight; Dinosaur Artist and Wildlife Painter maintained by Knight’s granddaughter, among others

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Every day in the month of September, we are serving up a different science artist for your viewing pleasure. Can’t get enough? Check out what was featured on this day last year: a NASA photo capturing our very own sun throwing a major temper tantrum. That blue dot in the bottom left corner? That’s Earth (for scale).

Kalliopi Monoyios About the Author: Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at www.kalliopimonoyios.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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