chapter  9
18 Pages

Chapter 9: Illusion and Realityin the Arts

ByJ. Bowyer Bell, Barton Whaley

In the case of real self-deception the viewer insists that there is no RUSE, that ILLUSION is Reality; nowhere is this more evident than in the arts. Magritte's most famous work involves paintings of impossible real-life visions crafted with great "realist" care—an illusion presenting the viewer with an ILLUSION inside it. Conventional landscape and still-life paintings seek on a two-dimensional surface to give the illusion of a third dimension, depth. Depth is simulated by various art conventions, including overlapping figures, deepening tones, and the use of lines that converge at infinity creating the illusion of perspective. If art is all ILLUSION, aesthetic forgery, then there is some comfort in considering that science seeks the truth, reality, that both scientific practitioners and observers regard selfdeception as a potential disaster on the road to discovery. The scientist's ILLUSIONS may be more compelling than reality, but they are still ILLUSIONS, cheating by mutual consent.