The free association of PAS
(Paleoart - Art and Science)

We are literally showered by scientific knowledge, but only a few people can, by their imagination, their art and their deep knowledge of nature, transform the dry facts into an impressive and accurate reality. Among the most famous in the 20th century include N. Parker, G. Heilmann, Ch. R. Knight and J. Matternes.
However, at the top was a native from Kopřivnice – Zdeněk Burian.
He overtook his predecessors and contemporaries, not only by scientific precision, convincingness and the ability to revive the prehistory, but primarily by the art of deleting the boundaries between the perception of mere image and the absorption of the new stunning fact that prehistoric animal certainly is.

                                         Vladimír Prokop (from the book Zdeněk Burian and palaeontology, 1990)


(1905 – 1981)

"Let aging painters express their concerns about the future of our beautiful nature. I have always loved nature and the awesome drama of its development has always fascinated me. Respect nature and please do all that we can to protect it to the greatest possible extent for the next generation."


Zdeněk Michael František Burián was born on the 11th of February 1905 in Kopřivnice.

His artistic talent was already apparent in primary school and he was introduced to Professor Max Švabinský on the recommendation of the painter Jan Gotha when he was 14 years old. He was subsequently admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Thanks to his exceptional talent, he was soon moved into the second year under the leadership of Professors Max Švabinský, Jakub Obrovský and Vlaho Bukovac. However, he already left the school in 1920 (after 2 years of study), and started as an Illustrator when 16 years old.

Although he began his career as an illustrator of adventure books for the young, he is known for his paleontological and palaeontropological reconstructions that he created from 1938, together with a professor of palaeontology at the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague, Josef Augusta, (however, they had already created first 5 less-known image reconstructions together in 1935).

Z. Burian also illustrated a series of books by Edward Štorch and these illustrations had a fateful importance for his life's work. J. Augusta reviewed one of Štorch’s books, called Lovci Mamutů, in 1937. He realized Burian’s greatness and the indisputable merit of this palaeontologist that he attracted the painter for cooperation in displaying prehistoric life.
Their first joint book was Zavátý Život (1941) with Burian’s pen-and-ink drawings and impressive watercolours. Their first professional publication, Divy Světa, with 88 reconstructions of prehistoric animals and plants, was published in 1942. Other professional books and belle-lettres followed after the war.
Z. Burian gained international recognition thanks to his pictorial reconstructions of extinct animals and ancestors of man, due to the collaboration with Prof. J. Augusta and other leading experts, for example, anthropologist, V. Fetter, palaeontologist, F. Prantl or phytopalaeontologist F. Němec.

After the death of J. Augusta in 1968, Z. Burian continued in the reconstruction of prehistoric creatures with palaeontologist Z. V.  Špinar, then with J. Beneš, B. Záruba and J. Wolf.  The zoologist, V. Mazák, was an expert advisor to Z. Burian with numerous palaeoanthropological reconstructions. He also became an accelerator of Burian’s work.
Zdeněk Burian created around 16 000 works during his life of which he devoted at least 424 oil paintings, 128 temper and gouache and pastel and 352 drawings to palaeontology and palaeoanthropology.

Zdeněk Burian died in the Prague hospital, Na Františku, on the 1st of July 1981
The asteroid no. 7867, discovered by A. Mrkos in 1984, was named after Z. Burian in 2000.

Project holder Mendel Museum
With the support of J. Hochman (grandson of Z. Burian)
Authors of the project: Ondřej Dostál, Petr Modlitba