The world has lost one of its finest creative heroes. Maurice Sendak, the artist/illustrator/author of Where the Wild Things Are, and many, many more works that ignited the imaginations of children and adults alike, passed away today in Connecticut from complications of a stroke. The 83-year-old Sendak is widely acknowledged as one of the most, if not the most influential children's book artists of the 20th century. He brought complexity and elements of darkness into an otherwise polyanna world of children's literature. Where the Wild Things Are put boogeymen, and a not-so-angelic boy in the spotlight, while The Night Kitchen got many a librarian in a tizzy over its nude depiction of three-year-old protagonist Mickey. Sendak's most recent book Bumble-Ardy, published last September, told the story of an orphaned pig--he lost his parents to the dinner table--who throws himself a big bash.
Sendak's creative hand also extended beyond literature. Many of his works were translated to the screen-whether in cartoon form (Little Bear, Really Rosie ) or in live action, as in Spike Jonze's 2009 film adaption of Where the Wild Things Are. Early on in his professional life, Sendak created window displays for F.A.O. Schwarz and later, designed sets for ballets and operas like The Nutcracker, Hansel and Gretel and The Magic Flute.
Look back at some of Sendak's finest creative moments below.