Paleoart is a genre of art in which the artist depicts prehistoric life based on scientific evidence. Consider for a second - what does a Tyrannosaurus Rex look like?
Did you imagine a giant, ferocious dinosaur with thick lizard skin, a massive head, tiny arms, and meaty legs with a tail to match?
Now consider that all the images we have of dinosaurs - unless of just the skeletal system, are the work of paleoartists. No one on this Earth has seen a real live dinosaur. No one on this Earth has seen an actual picture of a dinosaur. All we have to work with are fossils and other scientific evidence; paleoartists have done the rest. After all, dinosaurs roamed the Earth between 245 and 66 million years ago, in a period known as the Mesozoic era. The earliest humans appeared just five to seven million years ago.
Beginning in the 1800s, with the discovery of the first fossils from the Mesozoic era, artists began to imagine and create depictions of extinct animals. Paleoart is continuously adjusting to new evidence, as one small discovery can completely distort the dinosaurs we have imagined for so long. While the scientific discoveries continue to evolve and move on, paleoart and the images people have of dinosaurs can linger. The dinosaur you watched in a movie may have inaccurate qualities that scientists have known about for many years, yet the image persists.
Today, artists that work in the paleoart genre battle with a cautious desire to be as anatomically accurate as possible, and the urge to experiment and explore ideas. After all, when it comes to soft tissue reconstruction, almost anything is possible. Over the past few decades, the most well-known artists in paleoart adhere strictly to what we have learned from the skeletal systems of dinosaurs.
Paleoart: Dinosaur Sculptures
Paleoart comes in all media-paintings, drawings, sculptures, and more. The media an artist chooses to work with for their paleoart depictions is as personal a choice as any other form of art.
While paintings and drawings can influence you significantly, there is a certain life-like factor that sculptures bring to dinosaurs. Much like a giant life-sized cast of a complete dinosaur skeleton displayed at a museum gives you a feel for the sheer size of the animal. Dinosaur sculptures give you this same sense, shrunken down enough for careful inspection.
Dinosaur sculptures are a particularly important piece of paleoart, as they can help viewers bring the world of a dinosaur to life. Often, dinosaur sculptures can give you a sense of how the dinosaurs stood, moved, or even interacted with one another.
Dinosaur Sculptures by Nelson Maniscalco
Nelson Maniscalco has been a lifelong student and now a professor of fine arts at Cedar Crest College. What began as a fascination with dinosaurs led to Maniscalco tagging along on dinosaur digs for fossils. As his appreciation and awareness of dinosaurs and fossils increased, his passion merged with his art, and he began creating dinosaur sculptures. Today he is world-renowned in paleoart for those dinosaur sculptures.
In 1995, Nelson Maniscalco was commissioned by Maxilla & Mandible for a series of dinosaur sculptures for the American Museum of Natural History. Maniscalco has also sold his dinosaur sculptures to well-known celebrities for their personal collections.
Nelson Maniscalco brings paleoart alive with his one of a kind dinosaur sculptures. He brings each dinosaur sculpture to fruition through the process of individually casting each tiny bone in bronze. Maniscalco incorporates jewelry techniques to create these anatomically correct, incredibly detailed works of art.
Nelson Maniscalco’s dinosaur sculptures have a unique and exquisite quality of dynamism that gives onlookers a real sense of the way these animals moved.
Whaler’s Locker Paleoart
If owning a dinosaur sculpture by someone as renowned as Nelson Maniscalco seems out of reach, you will be excited to learn that we carry some of Maniscalco’s amazing pieces in our collection.
Nelson Maniscalco’s Bronze Velociraptor Sculpture -
The velociraptor, or “swift seizer,” is a well known, vicious predator of the Cretaceous period. Though only approximately the size of a turkey, this carnivorous predator was quick and agile. Get a sense of velociraptor’s small but mighty attitude with this one of a kind sculpture measuring about five inches tall.
Nelson Maniscalco’s Bronze Deinonychus Sculpture -
While lesser known than the velociraptor, the size of deinonychus is the more accurate representation of the dinosaur in Jurassic Park - a representation which, at the time was criticized for its inaccuracy. Like velociraptor, the deinonychus moved swiftly, on two legs and ate meat. It weighed about 165 pounds and had extremely sharp claws with robust legs that could rip prey apart with one kick. Maniscalco’s deinonychus sculpture is about six inches tall.
Nelson Maniscalco’s Bronze Gallimimus Sculpture -
A bigger dinosaur than velociraptor or deinonychus, the gallimimus was an ostrich-like omnivore that ate meat, if only opportunistically. Gallimimus had feathers, and a horny beak and is known as the “chicken mimic.” Maniscalco’s depiction is about eight and a half inches tall.
Nelson Maniscalco’s Bronze Triceratops Sculpture -
Another exceptionally well known, and loved prehistoric icon is the triceratops. This roughly twelve thousand pound herbivore moved around on four legs and had three horns, a parrot-like beak, and a considerable frill that surrounded its face. Male triceratops used their horns to fight one another, and defend against T-Rex attacks. Maniscalco’s triceratops sculpture measures about seven and a half inches tall by fifteen inches wide.
Nelson Maniscalco’s Bronze “Battle to the Death” Sculpture -
The tyrannosaurus, or “tyrant lizard,” is the most well-known dinosaur. This massive, fifteen thousand pound carnivore was king when it lived 68-66 million years ago. This dinosaur’s powerful teeth and jaws could bite through bone and devour its prey. Maniscalco’s sculpture depicts two T-Rex monsters entrenched in a battle to the death. This dynamic, vibrant sculpture is about fifteen inches tall.
Whaler’s Locker is home to the most unique and incredible collection of fossils, Hawaiian gifts, and more. For lovers of paleoart and Nelson Maniscalco, we offer a stunning collection of dinosaur sculptures. Everything you purchase from us is exactly as described. You can find a truly unique piece for yourself or a loved one, regardless of taste.