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The art of science and the science of art.

SciArt of the Day: Best. Dinosaur. Art. Ever.

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Douglas Henderson's Pteranodons and Plesiosaurs

Pteranodons and Plesiosaurs from Asteroid Impact © Douglas Henderson

When it comes to dinosaur art, it takes a lot to rise to prominence. The field is saturated with everyone and their brother who never lost their obsession with the terrible lizards they fantasized about as kids. So it is with no small amount of gravitas that Steve White makes this proclamation in the subtitle of his new coffee table book, Dinosaur Art: The World's Best Paleoart. Sure enough, the pages are full of spectacular pieces from ten legendary dinosaur illustrators: Julius Csotonyi, Gregory S. Paul, Mauricio Antón, Douglas Henderson, Todd Marshall, John Sibbick, Luis Rey, John Conway, Robert Nicholls, and Raúl Martín.

I was delighted to see my personal favorite, Doug Henderson, amidst the glossy pages. I adore his black and white illustrations - masterful studies of light and shadow that make you feel like you're crouching in the cover of the underbrush on the most epic National Geographic photo shoot EVAH. But Henderson's pastels are the focus of the chapter dedicated to him in Dinosaur Art, no doubt because people respond more to color than to black and white. From this stems my only critique of the book - perhaps it should have been titled Dinosaur Art: The World's Greatest Paleoartists since in my humble opinion, some of Henderson's graphite illustrations are as strong, if not stronger, than many of the pastels White chose to highlight. Also, surely there are one-hit-wonders by less accomplished or consistent paleoartists that deserve to be in a book about the world's best paleoart, if not the world's best paleoartists.

Regardless, Dinosaur Art is a spectacular art book and I thank Titan Books for sending me a copy. It's early to recommend presents for the holiday season (did I even just suggest that?! Somewhere, some marketer just cackled maniacally) but I can't recommend this book enough for anyone interested in paleoart. Beautiful book. Check it if you can:

Dinosaur Art: The World's Greatest Paleoart

Edited by Steve White

Titan Books, 2012

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

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