There’s a great collection of the art — paleoart — by John Gurche in this article on Discover Magazine. Gurche combines the rare skills of a strong science education, interest in human origins, and a master-craftsman’s skills as an artist to recreate what our ancient human ancestors might have looked like.
I have an interesting job. Some days it might involve paying a woman to climb up and down a pole naked while I take notes and photographs.
But that’s a terrible way to begin. Let me explain.
When I first learned of Lucy’s discovery, I wanted to build her. Lucy is the name given to a 3.2-million-year-old partial skeleton attributed to Australopithecus afarensis. It is a wonderful endeavor to seek answers to questions about how she lived, but seeing her as she may have appeared in life can make a connection for us that nothing else can foster.
In some of his best work, there’s something truly powerful — human — that is undeniable. I’ve found that some of my favorite work among today’s artists are often by those artists who focus on bringing to life topics in science. They seem to grasp something that was utterly lost by so many artists of the 20th century: that art is best when it elicits a powerful emotional response in the audience member.
So called “modern art” replaced this essential tenet — the tenet that made everyone from Shakespeare to Rodin great — with a triteness, a focus on politics or “cause”, and an elevation of “process” and the artist themselves over the final artistic creation and its connection with the audience. It was an era of the “means” justifying the “ends”. I abhor that crap, to put it lightly. In art, the artist is disposable.
Shakespeare is long-since dead. Yet, Hamlet lives!