Dinosaur Imagery: The Science of Lost Worlds and Jurassic Art - the Lanzendorf Collection

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9780124365902: Dinosaur Imagery: The Science of Lost Worlds and Jurassic Art - the Lanzendorf Collection

The art of natural history is often both compelling and emotive, as well as emblematic of society's view of the world. This art reflects the messages that scientists hope to send to a general audience as a part of their effort to influence how public funds are spent in support of science. The art is the medium and the message. The public fascination over dinosaurs has been fueled by images that eloquently illustrate current scientific theories about dinosaur behavior, physiology, locomotion, and reproduction. The evidence for many of these theories is very good. The art of dinosaur depiction is firmly rooted in the processes of scientific inquiry. Because the paintings and sculptures that illustrate dinosaur science are so powerful, collectors vie for this art paying top dollar to acquire it and display it. One of the largest personal collections is held by John Lanzendorf - over 100 superlative paintings and drawings, 40 significant sculptures (bronze), many other small pieces, drawings, figurines, action figures, and more. Artists represented in this unparalleled collection are the best illustrators, painters, sculptors and movie-magicians. Key Features include: art from the John Lanzendorf collection - the world's best; contributions from 20 leading paleontologists - each have written a short commentary on a certain piece of art; eye-pleasing layout - full pages of art are complemented by an accompanying page of commentary.

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Review:

In 1985, a Chicago hair stylist named John Lanzendorf bought a sculpture of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a whim. Fifteen years later, he had added more than 420 pieces to that initial purchase, assembling a collection that, paleontologist Philip Currie writes, "is the envy of many museums", and that one day doubtless will form the core of a museum collection itself.

Cataloguing only a portion of Lanzendorf's holdings, Dinosaur Imagery joins works by painters, animators, and sculptors such as John Gurche, Donna Braginetz, and Gary Staab with extended captions by paleontologists such as Michael Brett-Surman (Smithsonian Institution) and Mark Norell (American Museum of Natural History). The works of art range from the rigorously representational to the occasionally playful (but, fortunately, seldom kitschy), and there are some wonderful finds among them. The texts are revealing; it will come as news to many readers that the ancestor of the aforementioned T. rex may well have sported feathers (its posture, recent anatomical studies suggest, also resembled that of a chicken), that theropods hunted in packs, that sauropods travelled in herds, and that "the extinction of dinosaurs, although scientific dogma for decades, is now recognised as taxonomic illusion".

This well-made book is manna for fans of dinosaurs, and an ideal gift for budding paleontologists. --Gregory McNamee

Review:

"...I found my attention riveted by the paintings and sculptures from the collection of John J. Lanzendorf reproduced in Dinosaur Imagery: The Science of Lost Worlds and Jurassic Art. ...The art tempts one to generalize, stimulates reflection and focuses the reader on what, really, was a dinosaur." -Dale A. Russell, North Carolina State University, in AMERICAN SCIENTIST (July/August 2001) "The quality of the artwork and the manner in which it succeeds in bringing dinosaurs back to life is the trademark of this book. ...I highly recommend this book for many reasons, not only its visual spendour and easy reading style, but the fact that it merges the worlds of science and art nearly indistinguishably." -John Long in DINONEWS (April 2001) "Dinosaur lovers of all ages will enjoy Dinosaur Imagery...more than a mere coffee-table book. Recommended for college and university libraries, as well as public library collections and the general reader." -CHOICE (March 2001) "The current trend in dinosaur art toward realism and scientific accuracy is admirably and beautifully captured in Dinosaur Imagery... The volume features work of many of the best dinosaur artists and is testimony to their diversity, talent, and care. The numerous sculptures are an unexpected delight." -SCIENCE (October 2000) "John Lanzendorf is synonymous with dinosaur art because he has made lasting contributions to this growing creative field. My first encounter with his incredible collection was memorable. Every nook and cranny, every wall and counter-top was covered in dinosauriana. I was awestruck by the breadth of the collection and the depth of John's commitment, his limitless energy, enthusiasm, and devotion to dino-art. His collection is without equal and certainly the most important in the country, if not the world." -John W. McCarter, Jr., President and CEO of the Field Museum in Chicago

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