"...flipping through Paleoart feels, in the best way, like taking a psychoactive substance and becoming a kid again.” —The Paris Review Daily
Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past
By Zoë Lescaze, with a preface by Walton Ford
When many people hear “paleoart,” they picture bison, aurochs and woolly mammoths painted on cave walls thousands of years ago. Paleoart is actually a relatively new genre, though; one that began with the boom in fossil discoveries in England, Europe and North America in the early nineteenth century. Paleoart is the practice of depicting prehistoric animals as they appeared in life, and this book is a history of the wildly eclectic ways artists have imagined a world that no humans have ever seen.
Prehistory is a protean muse. The personality of the primordial planet varies dramatically from one work to the next, depending on the artist and his or her cultural context. Prehistoric reptiles are bloodthirsty monsters in one image, melancholy victims of extinction in another. These diverse depictions of the distant past often reveal as much about the present as they do about deep time. From small oil paintings to frescoes twice the size of subway cars, delicate watercolors to colossal concrete sculptures, paleoart ranges across media. Here, in this book, some of the most compelling works appear together for the first time.