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A Good Try - Not always Great Choices
on 31 October 2012
It seems awfully grumpy of me to give such a small grade, to a book that could have been a cherished dream come true. But to be honest, it was somewhat disappointing.
Of course I fully understand the Editor's conundrum: how can you be certain of your choice of only eight (8) artists, specializing in the representation of lost prehistoric worlds? Do these eight really represent the cream of the crop? Are they universally acknowledged, by scientists and the general public as the "Greatest"?
Well, there are of course no easy answers to all the above. In art, any art, choices are deeply personal - and Mr. White is just another person. Of course, when compiling such an anthology, you cannot ignore giants like Anton, Henderson, Sibbick or Martin. And Csotonyi (unknown to me) was a very pleasant surprise. But the remaining three did not really impress me.
Perhaps I am more of a traditionalist and I cannot abide to representations of prehistoric animals, based more on an abundance of poetic license, taken by the artist, than solid scientific hypotheses about the said animals and their ecology. And brilliant colors or "heretic" views on the creatures' shape, movement and / or environment are, for me at least, a really poor substitute for great design (Sibbick, Martin), masterful anatomical and dynamic representations (Anton) or rigorous insight in the animals' total ecological environment (Henderson, Csotonyi).
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. And the fold-outs of my favorite artists were a marvel! Most of the material is really good "Dinosaur Art". Sometimes even great "Dinosaur Art". But certainly not "The Greatest".