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Who are your favourite natural history painters?

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 14 Oct 2020.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Which are your favourite natural history artists / painters or indeed sculptors ) ?

    Please also feel free to write comments below regarding why you like these artists.

    Thanks !

    Look forward to seeing your replies.




    * I know photographers are technically artists too but there is enough on the forum already about wildlife photography so I thought it would be good to just focus on fine art on this thread.
     
  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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  3. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I particularly like the paintings of
    Jacques-Laurent Agasse. His pictures include
    • first giraffe in the UK (which belonged to King George IV)
    • quagga belonging to Lord Morton
    • various animals at the Exeter 'Change Menagerie
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your reply Tim !

    Agasse was a brilliant painter and I think his giraffe painting is really beautiful and of course of tremendous historical value.

    Can you imagine what it was like for people of that time period to see a giraffe in the flesh ? it must have been akin to seeing a unicorn or a dragon from myth.

    I think that particular painting really captures the sense of amazement and wonder that accompanied the arrival of this strange animal into 18th / 19th ( ? ) century Britain.

    John James Audubon ! A really brilliant painter !

    I love his work on "The birds of America". Many paintings among this book are strikingly beautiful. My personal favourite painting of his is the one with the rattlesnake raiding the nest of some mockingbirds. There is such a sense of drama and danger conveyed in that one scene.

    Thats said, I don't really like some of his paintings on mammals (for example his painting of a jaguar) as I find some of them to be a bit...unnatural and mannered (in sharp contrasts to his paintings of birds)....but I once read that he often worked by painting taxidermy specimens which were posed in very unnatural postures / stances so this could be why they come across this way.
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2020
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  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    My own favourite natural history paintings would probably be those watercolours in "The Mammals of Australia" by John Gould / H.C. Richter.

    I find these paintings to be absolutely astounding in their beauty and vision. Especially considering that they were produced / published such a long time ago when there was comparatively little to nothing known scientifically about the Australian marsupials.

    In particular I love all the images of the quolls (the one with the quoll with its parrot prey particularly), the bilbies, the devil and all those of the thylacines.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2020
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  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Raymond Harris Ching will always be the very first wildlife artist I think of.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Have to admit, I'd never heard of Raymond Harris Ching but I just had a browse on google images of his paintings and WOW !

    From the little I've seen from this brief google search I love his paintings of birds of prey / raptors and particularly one of the peregrine falcon!

    However, the ones I like best are his studies of the kiwi. Evidently he loves the avifauna of his native land.
     
  8. Tetzoo Quizzer

    Tetzoo Quizzer Well-Known Member

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    Louis Agassiz Fuentes for one. Richard Lewington for insects. Faansie Peacock.
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with you about Fuentes, he produced some beautiful illustrations of birds and particularly IMO the neotropical ones.

    I see that Lewington produced the illustrations for many a field guide book of insects and particularly butterflies which is really interesting and his art must have brought a lot to the lives of anyone who ever picked up those books to identify the insect life around them.

    In terms of field guide illustrators some of my favourites are by Francois Feer who did the ones for "Neotropical rainforest mammals: a fieldguide" and Fiona Reid who did the images for "Mammals of Central America: A fieldguide".
     
  10. Tetzoo Quizzer

    Tetzoo Quizzer Well-Known Member

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    Add William T Cooper as well
     
  11. Tetzoo Quizzer

    Tetzoo Quizzer Well-Known Member

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    And Katrina van Grouw.
     
  12. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I like it too. The thylacine portrait is on my wall.

    I also like 19. century animal illustrations showing in the background rolling jungle-covered mountains, giant mountains, vast panoramas etc. A sense of great wilderness. Brings to life the times when travelers could really meet an uncontacted native tribe or a stampeding herd of elephants.
     
  13. AWP

    AWP Well-Known Member

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    I agree with @Onychorhynchus coronatus on Fiona Reid; Central American mammals are her best known work to me either, but she illustrated an extensive range of other American mammals as well. Regarding illustrations in field guides, Frank Knight (mammals of Australia) and Robert Dean (birds of Costa Rica and Panama) are worth mentioning.

    On the field of extinct animals, two modern illustrators come to mind. Velizar Simeonovski made wonderfull illustrations for books on South American and Malagasian paleofauna, but his other work is great too. I like Peter Schouten's work too, mostly Australian paleofauna and Pleistocene megafauna.

    The most iconic illustrator of extinct animals to me is however Charles R. Knight. Maybe his work isn't correct anymore for part of the illustrations regarding posture or lifestyle of the dinosaurs etc, but it is still great.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2020
  14. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    I can mention one of the most famous animal silhouettists Ugo Mochi and his books "A Natural History of Giraffes" and "Hoofed Mammals of the World".
    I admire also the digital artists Toni Llobet for his work in "Handbook of Mammals of the World" and Ilian Velikov for his drawings in "Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Britain and Europe".
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2020
  15. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I like Ugo Mochi's silhouettes too.
    He also provided the illustrations for the book
    A Natural History of Zebras (1976) with text by Dorcas MacClintock.
     
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Along similar lines, and with the same caveats on accuracy, the very few first name that occurred to me when I saw the thread title was Zdeněk Burian - an artist I was exposed to a lot growing up, and the main reason I visited Dvůr Králové last year.
     
  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Another artist I didn't know before now and just discovered via a google search, beautiful paintings. With the backdrop of evocative landscapes they look like the kind that could be on a natural history museum wall as a mural or something.

    I particularly like the paintings of birds of paradise in the Papua New Guinean forests, very beautiful indeed.

    Quite interesting art by the looks of it, very anatomical focus with the studies of skeletons and general anatomy etc.

    That is brilliant that you are a fellow fan of "Mammals of Australia"!

    Which portrait do you have on your wall ? is it the one of the pair of thylacines or the closeup of the single animal and the profile of its face ?

    Totally agree, I also love the 19th century animal illustrations too, for the same reason that they really convey a sense of awe about the world and the beauty of nature and its hidden wonders which I think to some extent we have lost in the century since.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2020
  18. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Reid is brilliant isn't she ? I've met a couple of people who know her personally and travelled with her and they say she is phenomenally dedicated to her work and extremely knowledgeable about all of the wildlife of the region.

    Frank Knight looks like a great artist to me just from seeing the cover of "A field guide to the mammals of Australia". Honestly it just makes me want to own the book and flick through it to familiarise myself with the names and ecology all of the marsupials that I don't know yet. There just seems to be something about this group of mammals that invites great art.

    Agree about Velizar Simeonovski , his work is incredible, have seen it before in popular science articles and social media paleontology groups. I think he really does bring the wildlife of distant epochs to life and conveys very well what they must have looked like which is probably quite a challenging thing to do IMO.

    Aren't the paintings of Charles R. Knights also murals at a well known natural history museum in the USA ? Somehow they look familiar to me, as if I've seen them in this way in documentaries.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2020
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  19. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    I like the work of Hieronymus Bosch and visited a museum of his work at S'Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

    Many of the animals don't exist, but they are based on animals that do
     
  20. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    The first time I went to the Narodni Museum in Prague, there was an exhibition of Burian's work