Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali, and the Artists of Optical Illusion
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Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali, and the Artists of Optical Illusion

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Astonishing creations by masters of the art, such as Escher, Dali, and Archimbolo; amazing visual trickery; and an illuminating foreword by the Pulitzer Prize--winning author Douglas R. Hofstadter make this 320-page, breathtaking collection the definitive book of optical illusions.

Rings of seahorses that seem to rotate on the page. Butterflies that transform right before...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Sterling (first published 2004)
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This is an excellent introduction to modern art that prominently features one or more types of visual illusion. A wide range of artists and techniques are show-cased. There is an introduction to each artist featuring some biographical information and discussion of the artist's motivations and techniques but really the images themselves are centre stage in this book.


See the complete review here:
Outstanding. Printed on good quality paper with a fabulous assortment of optical illusions. I spent hours examining/admiring the artwork, then went back and read the book. I wasn't planning on actually reading it, but the author actually adds historical context and explains some of the images. Amazingly low price for the size of the book and the quality of the paper.
Masters of Deception
(More pictures at

This book is a delightful treat to anyone who loves optical illusion.

Here's a quote from the author, Al Seckel, in the introduction:

In researching and presenting optical illusions to wide audiences, I have found that their effect on people is very primal. It does not matter how old they are, how artistic they are, how intelligent they are, what their background or culture is; people just love optical illusions and enjoy being deceived in a delightful and surpri...more
The Offspring received this as a present for Christmas, and finally got around to looking at it. There are some cool and truly mind-blowing works within.


What happened is, the kids got it, and took it to their room, and looked at the pictures all the time, and then, finally, decided they were done and put it into the pile to donate. At which point I retrieved it, and finally got to finish.

The text is "meh", three stars at best. There's a few paragraphs about the artists' evolution, followed by...more
Jaime Flores
It amazed me as to how their brains worked to create such beautiful art. I stared at some of the art for minutes trying to visualize such creations and WHY I can't think or do that? Love it!
I received this book as an award when I graduated from my school. It has wonderful examples of numerous artists' work, all focused around one basic theme.
Ioannis Savvas
Ο οπτικός φλοιός είναι αυτός που ουσιαστικά μάς δίνει το έναυσμα για την οικοδόμηση του κατασκευάσματος μέσα στον εγκέφαλό μας που λέγεται κόσμος. Η τέχνη (κυρίως η ζωγραφική) διεγείρει και ιντριγκάρει τον οπτικό φλοιό. Του παρουσιάζει μια άλλη πραγματικότητα και μερικές φορές την υποκαθιστά. Ίσως μάλιστα η πραγματικότητα της τέχνης να είναι η πραγματική πραγματικότητα.

Το Masters of Deception είναι ένα λεύκωμα της Τέχνης της Παραπλάνησης του οπτικού φλοιού. Πάντως στα παιδιά έχει μεγάλη επίδραση...more
Jul 20, 2010 Glenn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
I've long been interested in optical illusions. This is a great collection of the works of 20 artists who created various types of art, but not just optical illusions. M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali are two of the represented artists who probably are the most recognizable mainstream names. Well worth checking out if you like art that is different and that sometimes fools your eyes.
Great book, but putting links to the website (which no longer exists) on far too many of the pages takes away from the timelessness of a book. Would be better if the website was mentioned once and then move along.

Minor qualm though - other than that it's a good coffee table book.
Patricia Doiron
Artists that practice the craft of trompe d'oeuil and anamorphosism have always been some of my favourite artists so this book made me quite happy to briefly learn all their journeys through art and how some of their greater works came to be.
Sep 07, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Has excellent color prints of many of my favorite artists. The related texts are concise and interesting.

For students of the Renaissance or Rosicrucian history, the section on Giuseppe Arcimboldo makes this book worth a look.
Apryl Anderson
Cool, cool book. Sad that the weblink is no longer valid.
Here's a YouTube playlist of most of the artists:
A book I can come back to time and time again, to spend many hours totally absorbed in the intriguing, surprising and entertaining illusions by the many masters of deception.
A cool collection of optical illusions in this book, many of them are explained. A fantastic book, although after having read, I never looked at it again.
This book was just visually amazing. I would have like more explanation about the illusions, but the writing was easy to understand. This is a fun book!
Recently bought. Beautiful book with gorgeous and engrossing images and information. A nice addition to my coffee table book collection indeed.
I am a big fan of optical illusions and this was a really neat look at them in art, not just the goofy pictures in gift books.
Nov 09, 2007 Damen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: aut
Illusions and working with strange materials to create images/eg, through shadows.
Totally fascinating art book. Many contemporary new artists profiled.
Sep 08, 2012 Kyle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
Beautiful and elegant examination of 'trick' art.
Drew Swearingen
Great coffee table book.
Jess Pardue
My favorite art book!
Ana marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Darryl Baker
Darryl Baker marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Lukas Holmes
Lukas Holmes marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Quinn marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
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