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Charles R. Knight
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    (October 21, 1874-April 15, 1953)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Known for paintings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals
    Created murals for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Peabody Museum at Yale
    Frequent contributor to National Geographic
    Wrote and illustrated 'Life Through the Ages' (1946)
    He loathed modern artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, calling their works 'monstrous and inexplicable creations masquerading in the name of art.'
    He lost much of his fortune when a businessman friend he had entrusted with his money panicked over FDR's New Deal and sold off his investments at a fraction of their value.
    Some paleontologists complained that his illustrations took excessive liberties in depicting extinct creatures.
    He dismissed dinosaurs as 'stupid, unadaptable, and unprogressive.'
    The combination of astigmatism and being struck in the right eye by a thrown rock when he was six left him legally blind. He needed specially designed glasses to paint.
    His illustrations of dinosaurs influenced their depiction in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World' and the films 'King Kong,' 'Fantasia,' and 'One Million Years B.C.'
    The Field Museum's curator said about Knight's mural of a Tyrannosaurus facing off against a Triceratops, 'It has become the standard encounter for portraying the Age of Dinosaurs.'
    Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote, 'Not since the Lord himself showed his stuff to Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones had anyone shown such grace and skill in the reconstruction of animals from disarticulated skeletons.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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