STL Science Center

STL Science Center

26 January 2018

Bear Art

There are a quite a few interesting illustrations of Arctotherium. A healthy percentage of these illustrations show the size relationship of this bear with other bears or with human silhouettes. These are helpful for appreciating the size of the largest known bear and it is this claim, of course, that interests so many people. Despite having shared few illustrations showing the bear in any type of action this week, those kinds of illustrations do exist and they are of extremely high quality. Many of these illustrations are not released into the public domain; however, we can share links to these illustrations without effectively stealing from the artists. The most colorful action illustration shared via link here is Arthur J. Doretty's Arctotherium. This illustration shows the bear confronting a pair of Smilodon as they appear to protect a carcass. Scavenging the kills of other animals was probably a very viable source of food for Arctotherium. Another interpretation of this image is that the bear may have wandered away, for water or to sleep for example, and come back to find scavengers at its kill and this is an act of reclaiming a meal. This appears to be in contrast to a much clearer depiction of carcass stealing by Diego Barletta. Barletta's bear is highlighted by, from what I can tell, a very diagonally oriented series of digital pen strokes to accentuate the rainy scene of an Arctotherium attacking a group of canids and claiming their meal for its own. The heavy details of the rain make the whole scene appear to be slanted and adds in an aesthetic that probably has a term in the study of art that I do not know but very much enjoy and appreciate in appropriate scenarios, like this image.

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