Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Zallinger's "Age of Reptiles" Mural

If you were a nerdly, dinosaur-crazed child in the 70's odds are you remember this:

This is an image of the world famous "Age Of Reptiles" mural painted by Rudolf Zallinger for the Peabody Museum in the 1940's. Looking at it now, the creatures, although still totally majestic (and well, awesome), look oddly stilted. That vintage T Rex looks mighty stumpy. At the time though, this was the top of the line conceptualization of dinosaurs.
Here's a pic of more of the mural:

"In April 1942, before beginning on the actual mural, Zallinger undertook 6 months of studies with Yale and Harvard scientists, and then 18 months of preliminary art work. Zallinger painted The Age of Reptiles mural from 1943 to 1947. For this magnificent achievement he received a Pulitzer Award for Painting in 1949."

Even though we have more realistic, souped up versions of dinosaurs these days, it's easy to see the magic these murals contained, igniting wonder about the prehistoric world in a million young squirming minds. You can see what an updated, more scientifically correct mural would look like now. (While cool "art wise" I have to say I prefer the look Zallinger's! The colors on the new one make me think of an extreme sports drink.)