Vintage Dinosaur Art will be taking a breather this week as I have so much material from my Children's Museum tour. I'll be keeping it focused on artwork, however, which feels right for a Friday. For those who find themselves rapt by saurians brought back to life by the artist's hand, the Children's Museum holds yet another attraction: they are the custodians of the Lanzendorf Collection, the most extensive collection of dinosaur art in the world. From sketches to production concept art to sculpture to oil paintings, John Lanzendorf's passion is on display here. There's a reason there's a prize named for him.
During my look at the Museum's collections, Dallas and Josh were so kind as to share the greater part of the collection not currently on public display. There was an overwhelming number of treasures here.
Even the initial concept sketch for the Dinosphere's exterior was there.
As was shelf after shelf of 3D work.
As Josh and I were walking through the gallery, Josh pointed to a painting that is probably pretty unassuming to most viewers. It wasn't a Tyrannosaur in a pose of bloodthirsty rage. It wasn't a pack of wild-eyed dromaeosaurs swarming a cow-like Edmontosaurus. It wasn't a grand scene overlooking the Morrison, sauropod necks gracefully raised above ferns and conifers and skulking allosaurs. No, John Lanzendorf's favorite piece is a Donna Braginetz Corythosaurus. It faces the viewer, its herdmates in the background out of focus. Josh said it was this technique, the photorealism of the treatment, that Lanzendorf loved. It's easy to see what he appreciates: the simulation of the intimacy most nature-lovers feel in quiet moments of observation calls to mind the most effective nature photography.
Josh said that it's also a favored piece because the colors of the ornithopod, vibrant green and gold, are those of the Wisconsonian Lanzendorf's favorite football team. We all have our reasons, and they are a glorious hodge podge.