Top positive review
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Beautiful Overview of Art Based on Illusions
on February 21, 2017
This is a beautiful paperback art book that covers a broad spectrum of art related to optical illusions. I've seen it on sale in many locations, including museum gift shops. Escher, Dali, and Arcimboldo are represented (as you'd expect) but the bulk of the book is devoted to a wide variety of artists inspired by either the artists mentioned earlier or various quirks of visual perception. Op Art is well-represented, as are ambigrams, nontraditional portraiture, unabashedly commercial artwork, and sculptures based on constructions in Escher's famous works. I'd already seen many of these images on the internet, but it's better to see them within this intelligent context. The book, with its many full-page reproductions, does a wonderful job of exciting the reader with the possibilities of illusionistic art, and wisely lets the artwork speak for itself more often than not.
Two things did surprise me about this book (although they did not cause me to lower my rating). There is very little in here to connect these works of art to even the basic principles of visual perception in layman's terms. I was also surprised to see so little attention given to Magritte, who seems to have overtaken Dali in the public's mind as the supreme Surrealist. There is some minor nudity scattered around, but nothing that isn't PG-13.
When I was a teen many years ago, I treasured my Escher calendars and Dali postcards. I would have loved to have seen such a book back then, and I am glad that this book is still in print and reasonably popular.