Re-assessing the quality of paintings of giraffes by Pierre Dandelot

Now that I have studied the details of colouration of giraffes, it is worth going back to a book I have been familiar with for most of my life.

I refer to Dorst and Dandelot, 1970 (, illustrated by Pierre Dandelot with his wonderful watercolours.
I can now re-assess, for example, his rendition of Giraffa tippelskirchi (, which he painted more than half a century ago, when there was little photographic evidence available.
My comments on this painting are as follows:
The head (and particularly the eye) is far too big relative to the rest of the animal. However, this can be seen in the context of a kind of ‘caricaturisation’, of which Dandelot was a master. This straying from strict realism works well for illustrations in a field guide-book.
The markings on this giraffe are generally realistic and true to life, i.e. Dandelot succeeded in conveying the crucial features of the appearance of this species.

He erred in details; e.g. he omitted the small spots on the temples of the head.

Again, this is no problem for the purposes of this painting. This is because more detail is not necessarily better, where the artist’s job is to convey the ‘gestalt’ of the species for purposes of quick identification.
Dandelot gets some details impressively right.

For example, he shows the distinct ‘row’ of spots on the cheek, the darkish ‘chin’, the pedal flag, and the fact that the mane has a different hue from both the ground colour and the blotches of the neck. Dandelot proves how observant he was.
Overall, I give Dandelot’s paintings of giraffes, and G. tippelskirchi as an example, a high score. I doubt that any subsequently published field guide has bettered him. His work really has stood the test of time.

Also see and

Publicado el septiembre 2, 2022 01:43 MAÑANA por milewski milewski


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