Friday, October 23, 2009

Charles R. Knight...father of dinosaur art

Charles Robert Knight
October 21st, 1874 to April 15th, 1953

Yesterday I mentioned Rudolph F. Zallinger's "The Age of Reptiles" and should have made note of Charles Knight, the father of "dinosaur art" who was born October 21st, 1874. Bill Ashworth wrote in the Linda Hall Library Newsletter:

"...Knight was given the opportunity to paint some dinosaur scenes to illustrate an article in Century Magazine. These four small paintings were to revolutionize the way dinosaurs were portrayed, especially the depiction of "Leaping Laelaps," which showed two small theropods fighting with one another in the most agile manner, quite unlike the way dinosaurs, or any other reptiles, were conventionally portrayed. The idea of the active dinosaur lost favor in the 1940s, and the famous Age of Reptiles mural at Yale, completed in 1947, shows dull, stolid dinosaurs who can barely lift one foot off the ground. When the "hot-blooded" dinosaur re-merged in the 1970s (making Jurassic Park possible), Knight became the patron saint of every would-be dinosaur artist, and he remains so today."

Charles R. Knight

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