Archival footage of diorama painting

The American Museum of Natural History shared this short video featuring archival footage of James Perry Wilson's working method. Wilson painted many of the finest diorama backdrop paintings for the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The video refers to a unique grid system that Wilson used for projecting a scene onto a curving backdrop, so that the forms don't get stretched out. Wilson called the grid "the unsquare square." Based on his background as an architectural illustrator, he was meticulous about planning, and did a complete full-size charcoal drawing on the back wall before painting in oil. You can see him covering up the drawing as he applies the paint. (Direct link to video)

Wilson was also unusual for plein-air painting completely in the nude, but that's another story.
More about the diorama art in Stephen Quinn's book: Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History
Thanks, Jason Peck
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