I’ll Miss the Amazing Visions of Dr. Robert McCall

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 2, 2010 in Cinema, Science |

I was very saddened to hear that Dr. Robert McCall passed away as he was very much a hero of mine. I’ll never forget the first time I visited the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. — along with being able to touch a piece of the moon and look at shopping mall full of aircraft and spaceships the first thing that hits you it the amazing larger than life mural by Robert McCall (an amazing gallery of his drawings that they house are here). Most of us have science fiction fanboys have grown up with McCall’s artwork without even knowing the artist. I think the first time McCall spoke to me was with his amazing work on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was looking at this artwork as a child long after the film came out, but his paintings created a magical environment that you’d want to wander around and step inside:

Robert McCall illustration for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

Robert McCall artwork for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

Most folks think of McCall as a painter who focused on the near future and giving a sense of realism, however it was this painting Grand Canyon Arrival which I recall seeing in the late 70s that showed his sense of the fantastic:

Grand Canyon Arrival by Robert McCall

Of course one shouldn’t just think that McCall was only focused on futuristic spacecraft — this painting for the 70s film Tora, Tora, Tora show his love of history:

Japanese Fleet - Tora, Tora, Tora by Robert McCall

But I think the one thing that McCall will be best remembered for is capturing the history of American aviation and spaceflight on canvas. His work is true Americana in that sense — a good example of this would be his 1977 painting The Spirit of Flight Research:

The Spirit of Flight Research by Robert McCall

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