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Rock of Ages, Sands of Time

Two tiny trilobites in a vast Cambrian ocean drift past sea cucumber parasols and a shaggy, tree-like sponge. Snail tracks loop enigmatically against brushed-gray Silurian slate, and ghostly white crinoids feather a Devonian seascape. A delicate pterosaur flies bravely into the Jurassic gloom, while a Tyrannosaurus rex so big that its teeth fill our field of vision stalks the deep orange sands that mark the end of the Cretaceous period.

These are just a few scenes from the magnificent drama that unfolds in glorious full color and three-dimensional texture in Rock of Ages, Sands of Time. Each of Barbara Page’s 544 contiguous painted panels represents a million years of the history of life on earth, with fossil plants and animals depicted at the same scale and in association with each other just as they might be found by a paleontologist in the field. A muted rainbow of background colors evoke the rocks in which the fossils were found — the Texas Red Beds, for instance, or the yellow Solnhofen limestone — and keystone events are shown metaphorically, with fat rolls of paint marking major extinctions or continental drift.

Bring this magnificent work of art from the Museum of the Earth home to you! Enjoy its crisp color reproductions of each painting, and essay from Director Warren Allmon giving the scientific context behind the art.

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