Charles R. Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time

By Richard Milner

Abrams, 2012; 180 pages, $40.00

You may not know his name, but as you leaf through this book, you will recognize his art, for, as Stephen Jay Gould remarked, Charles Knight had more influence on our notions of extinct creatures than any paleontologist past or present. During his career, which spanned the entire first half of the twentieth
century, he painted the murals of saber-toothed cats and tyrannosaurs that grace the halls of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Field Museum in Chicago. His drawings were staples in National Geographic and in many books for adults and children. In this luminous tribute to Knight and
his work, anthropologist and author Richard Milner has not only assembled a representative gallery of Knight’s best drawings, paintings, and sculptures, but has also written an appreciative biography of the artist, drawn from papers and writings, many never before published. Our age may boast of computer-generated
Jurassic Parks, where dinosaurs stride across the silver screen, but Knight’s handmade images of vanished worlds have every bit as much life—if not more.

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