14 of the greatest sci-fi/fantasy matte paintings ever made

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Marc Bernardin
Dec 17, 2012

The art of matte painting is a dying one, given the prevalence of computer-graphics wizards, but for most of cinema's history, the screen's sweeping tableaus were created by master craftsmen who were rarely recognized for their skill. Here is some of their finest work.

To some, names like Albert Whitlock, Jim Danforth and Peter Ellenshaw mean little, but to movie scholars, they were responsible for some of the most jaw-dropping shots in film history.

The selection that follows was culled from Shadowlocked's survey of the 50 Greatest Matte Paintings of All Time—you should definitely check out the rest to see some of the art that made the movies so magical.