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in art, a kind of visual trickery in which painted forms seem to be real. It is sometimes called trompe l'oeil [Fr.,=fool the eye]. The development of one-point perspectiveperspective,
in art, any method employed to represent three-dimensional space on a flat surface or in relief sculpture. Although many periods in art showed some progressive diminution of objects seen in depth, linear perspective, in the modern sense, was probably first
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 in the Renaissance advanced illusionist technique immeasurably. It was highly developed in the baroque period; Caravaggio's bowls of fruit included insects to enhance verisimilitude. American masters of trompe l'oeil include William M. HarnettHarnett, William Michael
, 1848–92, American painter, b. Ireland. He emigrated to Philadelphia as a child; he first learned engraving and then studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the National Academy of Design and Cooper Union.
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 and John F. PetoPeto, John F.
, 1854–1907, American painter, b. Philadelphia. Largely self-taught, Peto worked in the exacting style of trompe l'oeil illusionism perfected by William Harnett.
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imitation of the visible world in works of visual art; the creation of an impression of really existing objects and space.

Illusionism presupposes the visual effacement of the barrier between the conventional world of representation and actuality and their overlapping active interaction. It calls for the visual substitution or seeming destruction of the material substance (of which the work itself consists)—the flatness of the wall or the painting. Illusionism first appeared in the paintings of antiquity, played a noticeable role in Renaissance art, and became one of the main principles of monumental decorative baroque art (in baroque interiors the concrete architectural space merges with the illusory painted space that stretches into infinity). Illusionism is also seen in easel works—for example, in oil paintings, more rarely in graphics like the black and white “trick” still lifes of the 18th century and in F. P. Tolstoi’s watercolors in Russia.



a circus and variety art based on the use of such stage props as boxes with false bottoms and optical devices and on sleight of hand. The magician makes people and things appear and disappear and creates “magical transformations.” The art of illusionism is based essentially on optical illusion.

Conjuring began in antiquity, when priests created illusions. In the 17th and 18th centuries technicians performed “wonders,” based on mechanical devices, at fairs. In the 19th century H. Houdini performed in Paris and developed many of the principles of magic in use today. Twentieth-century magicians stage revues with difficult stunts and illusions, comic effects, and a more theatrical flavor.

Among the best-known magicians abroad are G. Pinetti and B. Bosco (Italy); R. Kefalo, Dante, and Taft (USA); A. and K. Herman (Germany); P. Ch. Sorkar (India); J.-E. Robert-Houdin (France); and Kalanag (Federal Republic of Germany).

Well-known Soviet magicians include E. T. Kio (Renard) and his sons, E. E. and I. E. Kio, Alli-Vad (A. A. Vadimov-Mar-kelov), Kleo Doreotti (K. G. Karasik), M. A. Marches, A. S. Shag, Van Tentau, and A. G. and R. M. Sokol.


Kio. Fokusy i fokusniki. Moscow, 1958.
Kio. Illiuzionisty i “volshebniki.” Moscow, 1959.
Vadimov, A. Iskusstvo fokusa. Moscow, 1959.
Vadimov, A. A., and A. A. Trivas. Ot magov drevnosti do illiuzionistov nashikh dnei: Ocherki istorii illiuzionnogo iskusstva. [Moscow, 1966.]


References in periodicals archive ?
In Singer's work, this leads to paintings that seem to have been completely purified of any traces of the artist's agency but nevertheless reveal a signature and unmistakable style: grisaille, digitally generated forms, illusionistic depth, figuration, avant-garde formal language.
And, finally, he rejects the traditional architectural space that defines the illusionistic atmosphere of routinized productions.
Another superb painting from the Norton collection is a trompe l'oeil or "fool the eye" illusionistic composition by Jacobus Biltius, dated around 1670.
With no attempt at an illusionistic set, what we are presented with is something which instead looks more like a rehearsal room brought to the stage.
Although painted by hand, his work is generated on the computer and retains the ambiguity of screen space, neither rigorously flat nor convincingly illusionistic.
By writing coherent sentences that yet use phony, concocted, or deliberately absurd referents, which in turn do not carry over even from paragraph to paragraph, Wellman satisfies both our urge to read along and our dissatisfaction with merely mimetic or illusionistic tableaux.
Behind a small illusionistic parapet, the standing Virgin gently holds her son cradled in her left arm.
The masque--a form of dramatic entertainment combining performance, song and dance, and illusionistic spectacle--has attracted increasing critical attention over the last fifteen years.
In 1889, the self-taught naturalist Carl Akeley used this style of illusionistic painting and scenery to construct the first habitat diorama.
The 24-year-old's work is influenced by abstract expressionists such as Hans Hoffman and Helen Frankenthaler and she will be exhibiting two new works which explore illusionistic space through the use of colour.
Within this domestic receptacle are spaces for study, sleeping, washing, living and dining stacked up with the precision of a Chinese puzzle and linked by disarmingly vertiginous flights of stairs seemingly hijacked from the illusionistic imagination of M.
Virginia Scotchie, another ceramic artist, employs visual contradictions through illusionistic surface treatments to provoke thought and contemplation.