Saturday, 11 June 2011
A sixteenth century dinosaur
The problem is, whatever the animal was meant to be when it was painted, it can't have been a dinosaur. The picture dates from the sixteenth century, long before dinosaurs were first reconstructed from fossilized bones. It's a detail taken from a large painting by Marten de Vos (1532 - 1603), now in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, which depicts The Temptation of Saint Anthony.
So what about Marten de Vos's "dinosaur"? He probably meant it to be a demonic cross between some kind of bird and a couple of other animals (though I can't imagine what)... and the result just happens to look like a dinosaur! Whatever it is, it's a long way from being the weirdest thing in the painting -- the full version is shown below.
[For similar posts, see Sixteenth century alien and Goya's Shadow.]