Monday, September 5, 2011

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Carl Dahlgren

With so much attention being paid to Dinosaur Revolution, which is arguably setting a new standard for CG dinosaur restorations, I thought it would be nice to go way back this week and take a look at some obscure old illustrations. The work of Danish artist and California transplant Carl Dahlgren fits the bill. Born in the middle of the 19th century, after moving to the states he would work as the staff illustrator for Hutching's Californian Magazine. A couple of his pieces are available on-line, thanks to Copyright Expired and Dinosaur Central.

First up, this Stegosaurus, rearing up on its hind legs.


More famous is his Amphicoelias, which Copyright Expired shares thusly:


Take a look at Dinosaur Central's article on the history of the "cowboys and dinosaurs" meme, however, and you'll see an interesting bit that was cropped out. They're small, but you can definitely make out the group of hunters menacing the sauropod.

Unfortunately, the context of these drawings is unclear. In Dinosaurs in Fantastic Fiction, Allen Debus only makes passing reference to these depictions, and the story they accompanied isn't available online, at least not according to my digging. I wonder if there was anyone debating the merits of this story the way Dinosaur Revolution is being argued over now? Paleontology was still a ruddy-faced tyke in those days, but I like to imagine someone like Sternberg or Seeley getting a copy of the magazine and doing the 19th century version of the *headdesk*.

1 comment:

  1. If they can have dinosaurs and cowboys, why can't I have dinosaurs and the seventeenth century? Hmph. ;)

    It looks rather as if the Amphicoelias is being maligned in more ways than one. The illustration seems to be suggesting that it's advancing towards the humans and they are having to defend themselves. I protest.

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