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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 ?
The vistas, scholars argue, are views of public buildings and their surrounds, public buildings and sacred gardens illusionistically appropriated by wealthy Romans for social and political aggrandizement.
And that continually reminds us that this is canvas, inhibiting any propensity on our part to treat the space illusionistically.
Kreupelhout's illusionistically deceptive wax-and-paint simulations of trunk, stems, bark, and branches, all ruptured and broken, and ostentatiously bandaged in places, are the embodiment of the spectacularized uncanny par excellence.
20) A number of paintings by Bronzino illusionistically depict statues, including this painted portraits and the fresco cycles at the Chapel of Eleonora di Toledo and t he Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence.
One of the central figures in the Palazzo is Hercules, the family's favored model: the Sala dei Cavalli features painted bronze reliefs illustrating six of his labors, and these are set against a background of illusionistically depicted horses.
This tension animated so there, it's air, with the installation's floor-bound portion inviting approach to wall-bound passages of gestural painting only to be interrupted by giant X's and a stretcher facing the wall, even while a halo and concentric band of rectangular lines illusionistically promised the opposite.
Here, the offbeat spatial discontinuities typical of Rauch's earlier work are now more illusionistically coherent, even if the near-distemper dryness of his painting still recalls both the stage flats of theatrical decor and the haranguing propagandist billboard.
Most extant portraits by Jan van Eyck include some kind of identifying inscription on the frame, often featuring the sitter's name, painted illusionistically as if chiselled into stone or carved into wood (Fig.
The shadows signal the existence of recessional space at the same time that they work illusionistically as a visual glue to bind and flatten the figures into a singular plane.
On the Hirshhorn's torqued walls, the horizontal seams separating the color fields of the cloth pictures illusionistically bent upward and downward, a fun-house effect underlined, quite literally, by the strong curved shadows at the bottom of each canvas.
Kleine blaue und grosse fleisch farbene Weltkugel (Small Blue and Large Flesh-Colored Globe), 2005-2006, an earth illusionistically painted brown and red, makes up a human-size tondo.
Though collapsed to a flat representation, the plinth continues to operate, illusionistically, as the shrinelike pedestal for this reverential presentation of a pasted-on print.