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Optical Illusions In Art: Or--Discover How Paintings Aren't Always What They Seem to Be Hardcover – June 30, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This vivid introduction to the use of illusion in art makes often complex visual effects understandable and fun. Chapters on trompe l'oeil, surrealism, perspective, anamorphosis (distortions corrected by use of mirrors or acute viewing angles), reversible images and op art explain the concepts with remarkable clarity; handsome reproductions, including works by artists as diverse as Raphael and Magritte, Holbein and Dali, are riveting. Seurat, Escher and the "vegetable" artist Arcimboldo have their own well-deserved sections, which, like the others, include numerous exercises in looking at the images and even creating one's own optical illusions. Asking the reader, for example, to view a Mantegna sky/ceiling painting while holding the book overhead, Sturgis surmounts the difficulty of reproducing trompe l'oeil convincingly. His highly engaging book proves that art can stimulate the mind as well as the senses. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: Art for Young People Series
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; First Edition edition (June 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080696135X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806961354
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By An Amazon shopper on November 21, 2007
Format: Spiral-bound
Even at this low price, the book is a huge disappointment. As a previous reviewer wrote, the book is spiral bound and all of 32 pages but it is good quality paper.

There are some nice clear pictures but there are multiple pictures on each page. So each picture is too small to be worth much.

If you are looking for a book with a very shallow introduction to various painting and drawing techniques, this is just OK.

If you want a book with a lot more substance, I recommend that you look elsewhere.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amanooensis on October 23, 2007
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This brief introduction to the topic is informative and well-made, but some parents may want to take a look before buying for their kids.

When I opened this I was pleased to find that, as I'd hoped, the publisher had indeed made some effort to print this book well. Witness the spiral binding that allows the pages to lie flat, for instance. Pictures look great, and the paper has a good, sturdy feel.

The layout does get a little crowded here and there, but generally things are explained well, and many subtopics are covered. So I was very enthusiastic to find such a book at a bargain price, but there is one editorial decision that potentially upsets the whole apple cart.

One page shows a 15th century trompe l'oeil ceiling painting from an Italian palace. As one looks up toward the ceiling, one gets the impression of looking up past a series of balconies and ledges, to the sky somewhat distantly above it all.

Since it was the 15th century and all, the painter perched several little boy cherubim (angels) on some of those ledges, wearing wings -- but no clothes. And since we're below them, we're looking straight up at their... well, just figure it out.

The author was careful not to describe them as angels (thus removing complex Renaissance religious notions from the discussion). But he evidently did not think young readers would notice, or snicker over, or otherwise get distracted, by the unusual and unexpected view of those little angels', um, equipment.

In fact, the book's designer was so enamored of his Photoshop skills that he chose to print that painting *twice* on the same page! The second, and closer, view is part of an elaborate, somewhat cutesy and unnecessary "illumination" of the page's heading text.
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