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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 illusionistically sensuous evocation of a mellow Roman day in the words "aureate dream" ("v laske zolotogo sna," literally "in the caress of a golden dream") refers to the tall, slender tree in the Roman Campagna, at the entrance to Rome.
Illusionistically carved, she is shown wearing a crown, holding a sceptre in her right hand, and clothed in an ermine cloak, a lace-trimmed dress and jewellery.
But no less pointed is his habitual, reverse-Midas-touch tendency to coat sumptuous materiality in a squalid veneer, as when the tangled skeins of Pollock-style painting are echoed in massively enlarged photographs of Morris-style dust bunnies from the studio floor, or when that emblem of Minimalism, the sleek steel cube, is illusionistically endowed with the look of cheap cardboard.
The secularist view is not illusionistically optimistic; there is evil, depravity.
The idea of cutting a vase form, which is illusionistically three-dimensional, out of a two-dimensional decal and then applying that flat decal to a rounded surface is particularly intriguing to her.
83) Koerner also rightly argues that the picture "reads" like a book, where the motifs reference ideas symbolically rather than describing them illusionistically.
There may have been something of the very young man's bravado in the group's rejection of the traditional idea of a painting as a neatly delimited, illusionistically rendered segment of the perceivable world, but there was also a real sense of idealism about their wish to raise the aesthetic level of the domestic interior, to make art and life seamless.
Clark had managed to illusionistically torque the plane, an accomplishment she verified in Ovo Linear (Linear egg), 1958, a black disk bordered by an interrupted white line.
Daniels continued to play with the motif in later works, from picture planes loaded with myriad flat, abstract bow-tie forms to more or less illusionistically "correct" renderings of rooms containing a few monochromatic wall decorations, pianos, or microphones on a stand: the stage set (and the stage-set) for a performance, devoid of human presence.
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.
Listening speaks," as Barthes wrote, and the artist-fan considers the strange way music enters the body, confusing inside and out, often with mirrors opening interior spaces illusionistically vaster than than their containers.
If reflexivity allows for a critical analysis of the aesthetic and historical relation between an author and his or her medium, mere reflection, according to Krauss, "is a mode of appropriation, of illusionistically erasing the difference between subject and object.