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ASTROArts Blog from Andrew Fazekas

Painting Space: Then and Now

Title: “Mars Desert by David A. Hardy (1972)” Caption: “For his 1972 book with Patrick Moore, Challenge of the Stars, Hardy painted this scene on Mars based on black-and-white images of Mars sent back by the Mariner probe in 1965. These showed Mars to be disappointingly Moonlike, with craters; later missions, and especially Viking, showed it to be a much more interesting world! They also showed the dark blue sky to be inaccurate.” Astronomical artists are sometimes divided into First Generation and Second Generation (and I suppose we now have even more). The first group were pioneers; they were the first in their field and had nothing to work with but their own knowledge, observations, intuition, and talent. They include James Nasmyth, who in 1874 made models of the Moon’s surface and photographed them against a black, starry background. Scriven Bolton later used a similar technique for The Illustrated London News. By far the most accurate artist was French astronomer Lucien Rudaux who, because he was an observer, knew what the lunar mountains really look like in profile. His 1937 book Sur les autres mondes (On Other Worlds) is a classic. But the best-known space artist from the 1940s and 50s was the American Chesley Bonestell (see my first blog: http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/component/zoo/item/moon-by-earthlight.html ) Title: “Moonscape by Scriven Bolton” Caption: “Scriven Bolton had numerous works published in the Illustrated London News in the early 20th century. Some of Boltons’ lunar scenes employed the novel technique of over-painting a photograph of a plaster landscape model.” In Britain there... Read More..