The Art of 2001: A Space Odyssey

For over a decade, the cover painting for 2001: A Space Odyssey reigned supreme as the example of space travel.  It appeared on the nightly news when major networks ran stories of developments in NASA and became the template for science fiction items and advertisements everywhere.  It was so prevalent during its time that its connection to Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke seemed to fade.  When Clarke wrote a sequel to his classic novel, he commissioned a new painting in a totally different style that stepped away from the technology and embraced the more mystic elements of his story.

The mystic aura of the continued story became an even greater focus for the cover of the sequel book 2061: Odyssey Three.

Clarke’s last book of the series, 3001: The Final Odyssey, takes the story to the far future.  Surprisingly, the original cover artwork seems closer aligned to 2001: A Space Odyssey than the third book, which occurs 940 years earlier.

2001: A Space Odyssey served as the inspiration for some of the earliest amateur computer generated artwork released on the internet.  Unfortunately, as computer generated artwork became more prevalent among science fiction fans, users focused on Star Wars and Star Trek, leaving the worlds of Arthur C. Clarke behind.   Although years old, these images grasp the spirit of deep space exploration, the theme 2001 portrays.