Leonardo da Vinci believed that to depict the physical world accurately one must first understand its underlying processes. Driven by the need to explain new concepts and enlighten the public, art and science combined to form an enduring relationship during the Renaissance, creating artwork that was not only beautiful to behold but also informative in its content. Today, National Geographic Society artists continue in this tradition, employing contemporary illustrative techniques to enlighten readers of Society publications. Throughout the Society's publishing history, beginning with the magazine's first issue in 1888, diagrams have played a key role -- explaining the hows and whys of the world. Inside/Out draws from this vast collection, showcasing a selection of the best diagrams and cutaways from the last 30 years. Lavishly illustrated, the volume is divided into three sections: "Beneath the Surface," which features cutaways that slice away exterior layers to reveal the hidden structure of objects -- from the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica to the center of the earth. "How Things Work," which displays the diagrammatic techniques used to explain technology and complex processes -- from Henry Ford's Model T assembly line to how the human brain works. "Unseen Worlds," which showcases creations that transcend time and space to illustrate subjects that we can only imagine -- from the birth of a star to the inner workings of the eye. Each section features a behind-the-scenes look at the immense task of creating these highly accurate and beautifully rendered illustrations -- from research to sketches to final art. Much has changed in the last 500 years, but like Leonardo da Vinci, National Geographic artists still search beyond first impressions for the hidden truths to create wonderful illustrations that teach us how the world works.
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YA-This selection of some of the best diagrams and cutouts prepared by National Geographic Society artists over the past 30 years captures not only the beauty contained in the physical world but also its valuable scientific underpinnings. The lavish illustrations in "Beneath the Surface" feature cutaways displaying the hidden dimensions beneath structures, peeling away the layers of buildings such as medieval castles or something as ordinary as a potato. Diagrams in "How Things Work" describe processes in technology such as an auto-assembly line and the space telescope as well as complex patterns in brain waves, hurricanes, and bacteria. Finally, in "Unseen Worlds," the artists create materials that can often only be imagined such as black holes, civilizations found at ancient archaeological ruins, and reconstructions of prehistoric skulls. These artists take readers into times and places that can only be reached through informative graphics opening up new ways of seeing the physical world and continuing the long tradition of presenting science in a meaningful way. Useful in all curriculum areas.
Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School, Upper Marlboro, MD
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5 and up. Although the National Geographic Society is justly famous for the quality of the photography that illustrates its publications, these 60 paintings from the past 75 years brilliantly demonstrate how an artist's imagination can go where a camera cannot. The diagrams, drawn mostly from (cited) issues of National Geographic magazine and several unpublished works, take viewers from a prairie dog town to the depths beneath Mount Pinatubo; illustrate unseen--but definitely not unfelt--atmospheric effects; and peel away outer layers for a glimpse of Chernobyl's ruined core, Spacelab, and the beluga whale's sound-producing mechanism, among other wonders. All the illustrations are accompanied by substantial explanatory notes; the creation of three are examined in further detail, enhanced by preliminary drawings labeled with sometimes devastating comments from scientific experts. Besides its obvious appeal as a browsing item, the background notes, variety of styles, and the admirable range of vision on display make this album a unique clinic in scientific illustration and graphic design. John Peters
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