Monday, August 18, 2008

Chelsey Bonestell -- Saturn As Seen From Titan (1944)

¤ "Saturn As Seen From Titan (1944)" By Chelsey Bonestell from a gallery on the artist: "Bonestell Space Art". There is a page called "titan" on how this masterpiece was created.

¤ Rings anyone? Not a star gazer by nature -- but when Darrell suggested I look at this space art, I could see the attraction straight away. Chelsey Bonestell has a unique gift in bringing the unfamiliar to your attention so that you feel like you have been there before and that you are returning home. The bit that impresses me the most is the shadow-like phase of Saturn floating between two rocky crags. The crags remind me of a Cadbury Flake confectionery bar. (Oops, must be hungry.)

~ Mags

¤ When you are a child and going through school many images "just are" and you don't think about how they were created and by whom. The images are something that always have been in the books that you know and perhaps loved. I loved books about space and films and film strips about space. (I wonder how many remember film strips in school? Basically a slide show on a roll.) This picture is one that I remember. I cannot even tell you what books I saw the image in.

Space Art was extremely important in the days before we had the fantastic imaging equipment and far flung exploring satellites we have today. Today we actually have seen images from Titan's Surface! In 1944... it was up to imagination and science to provide any inspiration to people as to what wonders might be out there. Some like this Bonestell work, nearly seem photographic and perhaps better than photographic. Perhaps some details are wrong... it wouldn't be from cloud shrouded Titan's surface but perhaps another larger moon of Saturn?

We still actually rely a lot on artist's interpretations of objects and vistas in space beyond what we can actually observe with remote sensing and satellite. But the artist's have better resources to draw on. They also now have computers to draw on. I shall have to in future review some of the current space art of new planets discovered around stars far away.

This one has incredible towering cliffs with perhaps methane ice on the ledges and tops. Saturn is seen from towards the back in a difficult angle to see from the Earth with the top surface of the rings illuminated. There is a link to how he created models to paint the rock faces from and experiment with different lighting. That was interesting. It was also interesting to learn that the media is thin layers of oil paint on "illustration board" which had a large black and white print of the model mounted on it.

I am thinking that in a way, an artist can be a space explorer just as an astronomer or other scientist can.

~ Darrell

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