Book Review: The Art of Space

December 18th, 2014

Book Review: The Art of Space – The History of Space Art, From the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era by Ron Miller; Zenith Press/Quarto Publishing Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota; $35.00 (hardcover); September 2014.

This is an impressive gathering of artwork, drawn together by Ron Miller, artist extraordinaire. The book is an eye-catching work showing how astronomy and space travel has been represented in a variety of media over the past two centuries.

The book is divided into 5 sections: Planets & Moons, Stars & Galaxies, Spaceships & Space Stations, Space Colonies & Cities; and Aliens. Each section is rich with both artwork, but also an opening text and informative captions.

As Miller notes: “The advent of space exploration enabled some artists to create space paintings of unprecedented accuracy, and it enabled others to abandon realism entirely, leaving them free to explore the impact of space on humanity in other ways.”

That sweep of accuracy to castle in the sky sketches is the fuel that has powered generations to embrace space exploration, the beauty of adventure, and ponder the strangeness of the unfamiliar.

The reader will enjoy some spotlighted space artists of the past and present, from Chesley Bonestell, several astronaut/cosmonaut artists, to the works of Don Davis and Pat Rawlings.

In its concluding pages, The Art of Space has a helpful “Further Resources” page that includes artists’ websites and also where to see space art.

The book includes two nicely written forewords by Carolyn Porco, the Cassini Imaging Team Leader at the Space Science Institute, and Dan Durda, a gifted artist and space scientist at Southwest Research Institute.

As Durda explains: “Art and exploration have been long and intimate partners, each inspiring the other through history as we expanded the frontiers of new lands and pressed the boundaries of human activity with novel technologies.”

You’ll find Miller’s book an excellent read and a visual feast – a volume that is an inspirational bridge between art and exploration.

For more information on this book, go to:

By Leonard David