Writing from the perspective of an art historian, Jane P. Davidson traces the history of paleontology illustration from the 15th century to the present. She combines discussions of these images as works of representative art with assessments of the artists. The book covers depictions of fossils, restorations of plants and animals, and ecological restorations in painting, drawing, sculpture, and in display restorations such as dioramas. Although the main subject of the book is scientific illustration, it also delves into "popular" illustrations such as those found in children's textbooks, popular introductions to paleontology and geology, museum and other public displays, and film. Both a history of science and a history of representation, this is a fascinating exploration of the interactions between art and science.
Jane P. Davidson is Professor of Art History at the University of Nevada, Reno, and author of The Bone Sharp: The Life of Edward Drinker Cope. She lives in Reno, Nevada.