Friday, July 23, 2010

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Zdeněk Burian

It's high time I got around to featuring Czech artist Zdeněk Burian here; he is definitely one of the titans of paleoart, a contemporary of Charles M. Knight's and his equal. Thanks to Greg Paul mentioning him on his coffee table book's description, I have finally amended this grievous wrong.

Like Knight's portfolio, much of Burian's work looks familiar even if you've not seen the specific piece before; many other artists, likely working under tight deadlines and for little money, borrowed from his work. You can't blame them. This stuff looms over me, making me aware just how meager my arsenal of superlatives is.

Many of his scenes are so iconic that they overshadow the man, and in looking over his work again, I think that I might go about sifting through the Vintage Dinosaur Art Flickr group and tagging other artists' work where they are clearly nicking things from the big three.

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Image from claudiasfinds, via Flickr

Зденек Буриан (22)
Image from Сергей.Владимирович, via Flickr

Зденек Буриан (23)
Image from Сергей.Владимирович, via Flickr

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Image from claudiasfinds, via Flickr

And I can't resist including this gorgeous depiction of Carboniferous life. It's my home bedrock, after all.
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Image from claudiasfinds, via Flickr

Looking at this work, you can't help but understand why paleoartists are so goshdarned important. How many future scientists did artists like Burian, Knight, and Zallinger spawn?

More: An essential post at the fine illustrating blog Lines and Colors, a great Russian gallery of his work, and the official website.


  1. Oh my God! Thank you!

    When I was growing up in communist Poland, little resources on dinosaurs were available there. My parents bought me "Zanim pojawil sie czlowiek" ("Before the Man Came") by Spinar, with Burian's illustration on a street market and it is still one of my favorite books on dinosaurs (and other prehistoric animals) ever.

  2. You're welcome! Science and art are universal languages, and paleoartists speak both of them. I unfortunately do not have any physical copies of Burian's work. I really want to correct that, as well.


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