- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: National Geographic (November 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0792279204
- ISBN-13: 978-0792279204
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.1 x 11.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,696,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of National Geographic Hardcover – November 1, 1999
Top Customer Reviews
I have an extensive collection of books on illustration and famous illustrators which I use as reference and inspiration as an artist/illustrator. I had hoped this one would be one of the better books exhibiting outstanding examples of illustrators' work. It is not. I feel that too much emphasis is placed on text on the illustrator, with wasted empty white space around it, as well as large mediocre illustrations taking up two pages when there are others that deserve more attention and space.
Given the amount of illustrations that have been done for National Geographic over the last 100 years, I expected this book to be crammed pack full of inspiration and variety. It is not. It does not go into enough depth into a specific illustrator's work, such as Paul Calle for example, who did numerous pieces for N.G. Only one of his paintings is shown in the book and it is not one of his better illustrations in my opinion.
The chapter on Natural History is probably the best of the book, but again, I had expected a much more diversified selection with many more examples than what is shown. I felt many pages were wasted on illustrations that were enlarged 200+ percent for the sake of making an impact, when the technical merit of the painting does not justify the space of two pages. In several instances, the paintings are blurred and lose their detail due to the enlargement.
I am sorry to say that this book is lacking in many areas and I would not advise buying it at full price. If someone feels that they must have it, wait until it goes on sale.
There are many memorable images in this book: dinosaurs in fierce battle with each other, a sailing ship battered by a storm, a transcendent-looking Einstein haloed by celestial bodies, an army of ants on the march, majestic-looking World War II-era naval vessels, a close view of Saturn's rings, etc. Amidst all of the "big" pictures, there are also smaller and gentler sights, like Mary Eaton's delicate botanical watercolors. This is a marvelous collection of illustrations that invites you to return again and again.
As would be expected, a publication like National Geographic would require a higher level of artwork to complement its writing and this book delights us with lush, wonderful illustrations selected from Nat'l Geographics archives-- as well as insight into their creation and/or history.
In today's digital age, it is awe-insptiring to see such a wonderful handcraft placed on a pedestal.
Hats off to Prof. Carter!