Saturday, 4 August 2007

Dinosaurs as Art: Royal Tyrrell Museum

Back from the Badlands

The Royal Tyrrell Museum near Drumheller was more than I had imagined it to be. I have grown up with the Royal Ontario Museum; I took classes there as a child, and have been a frequent visitor since. The R.O.M. specialises in many areas, from ancient China & prehistoric animals to modern bats, & art. When constructing its new dinosaur gallery inside the Crystal, the R.O.M. would do well to pay attention to the wealth of uncompromising science and education about evolution at the Tyrrell. No concessions made to offending any religious sensibililties, just facts and supported theories, evidence in abundance, pure science.

The Tyrrell has a narrower, and richer focus. Prehistoric life. Evolution. The world of what happened before us.



Above, left: Golden Eagle claw with Sauronitholestes. Above, right: The sickle-claws of a dromeosaur, ornithomimus & velociraptor.

The pictures I am blogging today are from my favourite room; a Gallery, shrouded in darkness, reverent spotlights revealing the detail and majesty of the fossils. Ornate gold frames, in the baroque-style, encased the larger specimens. Simple North-Renaissance black frames with black-velvet mats added subtle lushness to the sophisticated evolved claws, teeth and feet of swift-moving dinosaurs.

Above, an Albertosaurus caught in a dramatic rigor mortis pose.

A struthiomimus.

The majestic Tyrannosaurus. Mounted without frames or hyperbole.


Perhaps this room appeals to me so much because of my Fine Art background. When I oil paint, I begin on a black or dark background, adding paint and the figures emerge from the darkness, much as this room brought to life. Bravo and thank you to the curator.

I believe one of the greatest experiences of my life was first entering this room. Seeing the magnificent creatures of the past I have loved so much, through the lense of the human art world was sublime, and I felt the rush of the scientifically-numinous.

2 comments:

Lim Leng Hiong said...

The lighting must have been enhanced since the last time I went; I recall a slightly brighter museum.

I definitely understand what you mean about adding light to a black canvas. I learnt pastels many years ago and it strikes me how dramatic the finished work appears if you start with a black background.

The Flying Trilobite said...

It is a brighter museum throughout the rest of it. I was just really struck by the excess of fossils they have to be able to devote a room to what was essentially downtown gallery fare.

Pastels in particular look great on black, don't they? Too many people paint and draw on flat white, in my opinion.

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