Saturday, October 16, 2010

Family Portrait

An assembly of French artist Elisabeth Daynes' reconstructions serves as a "family portrait" for living and extinct hominids. Two australopiths, nicknamed Lucy and Lucien, are in the foreground at right. A representation of the first Homo species to leave Africa raises a rock in the foreground at left. A Neanderthal family is in the far background, and Homo sapiens is represented by the bearded figure stretching out his left hand in the background at right.

French artist Elisabeth Daynes is known for her reconstructions of our long-dead cousins, ranging from Lucy the australopith to a Neanderthal family to the "real face of Tutankhamun, Egypt's boy-king. Now she's won the Lanzendorp PaleoArt Prize for bringing those age-old cousins to life through her sculptures.

The PaleoArt Prize, one of the top honors for artwork related to paleontology, was established in 1999 by art collector John J. Lanzendorf. This year's prize was awarded to Daynes at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Pittsburgh. The artist was born in the south of France, began her career as a theater makeup artist and has been creating "hyper-realistic" reconstructions of ancient creatures for more than 20 years.

The photo above gathers many of Daynes' masterpieces together for a group portrait.


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