Art & Criticism Dali's Optical Illusions

ISBN 13: 9780300081770

Dali's Optical Illusions

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9780300081770: Dali's Optical Illusions

This visually gripping book focuses on a central but relatively unexamined aspect of the work of Salvador Dali: his fascination with optical effects and visual perception. The book examines Dali's use of various pictorial techniques, photography, and holograms to further his exploration of visual perception and the ways that optical illusion affects our sense of reality. Dawn Ades and other authorities in the field discuss such paintings as The Enigma of William Tell, in which Dali experimented with anamorphosis, the perspectival distortion that produces on the canvas elongated forms demanding an oblique viewpoint. They also note his interest in other more conventional forms of perspective and their sources in both Dutch and Italian art. They study his development of the famous double image, the "paranoiac-critical method" that produced images that could be "read" in multiple ways, as seen in his Apparition of a Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach or Impressions of Africa. And they reveal his fascination with optical effects and three-dimensional illusions that is apparent in his post-war work: the "screen-dot" paintings like Sistine Madonna or Portrait of my Dead Brother, in which an image emerges from a "pointillist" surface; the striking stereometric paintings he began in the early 1970s - twin panels that have to be viewed through special lenses and his holograms. The authors explore these works and many others, pointing to their sources in scientific theories of perception and perspective and comparing them with the work of such twentieth-century artists as Marcel Duchamp, who was similarly concerned with optics. The book is the catalogue for an exhibition at the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut, from 21 January to 26 March 2000; at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., from 19 April to 18 June; and at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh from 23 July to 1 October.

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About the Author:

Dawn Ades is professor of art history and theory at the University of Essex. She is also the author of many books on Spanish art and Surrealism, and the author of Art in Latin America (ISBN 0 300 04561 1), published by Yale University Press.

From Booklist:

"If you compare me with any classical painter whatsoever, then I'm an absolute nonentity," confessed Salvador Daliin his late years. The statement is particularly ironic given Dali's status as one of the most original twentieth-century artists and the twentieth-century artists' general disregard for the masters. But Dali, of course, was never one to run with the crowd. In fact, Dalibuilt his extraordinary technical repertoire by studying the ancient masters of perspective and applying what he had learned to create canvases of his own mad visions. As the writers explain in this collection, Dali's experiments with perspectives were all-encompassing. The catalog examines his study of conventional forms of perspective in Dutch and Italian art, as well as his play with anamorphosisthe perspectival distortion that produces on the canvas elongated forms demanding an oblique viewpoint--such as in The Enigma of William Tell. It also examines Dali's own invention of the "paranoiac-critical method," which produced the famous double image that can be "read" in multiple ways, such as in Apparition of the Face. The exhibition catalog contains 109 color and 61 black-and-white illustrations of Dali's fantastic optical illusions. Veronica Scrol

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