The painting on the cover of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara shows a convoy of dinosaurs and people crossing the desert, passing huge statues from one of Dinotopia’s ancient civilization.
As I painted the fallen stone face on the right side of the picture, I was thinking of Percy B. Shelley’s 1818 sonnet “Ozymandias,” which describes a traveler’s encounter with a colossal ancient statue in the desert: “Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies.”
The inscription on the stone at the lower left echoes Shelley’s theme of the mute arrogance of a vanished civilization. The phrase says “EVERLASTING DOMINION” in Dinotopian footprint alphabet, ancient Greek, and Aramaic (written with Hebrew letters).
The features on the fallen face in the painting are based not on Egyptian forms, but on casts of Michelangelo's David.
The painting is on view in "The Fantastical Art of James Gurney" which opens at the Norton Museum tomorrow.
The Dinotopia online store, where you can order a signed copy of Journey to Chandara.
Dinotopia Wiki on the Footprint Alphabet
Wikipedia on the poem Ozymandias
Previous GJ post on using plaster casts, including the David casts.