Illusionism (art)

Illusionism in art history means either the artistic tradition in which artists create a work of art that appears to share the physical space with the viewer or more broadly the attempt to represent physical appearances – called mimesis. The term realist may be used in this sense, but that has rather different meanings in art, as it is used to cover the choice of ordinary everyday subject-matter, avoiding idealizing subjects. Illusionism encompasses a long history, from the deceptions of Zeuxis and Parrhasius to the works of muralist Richard Haas in the twentieth century, that includes trompe-l'oeil, optical art, Abstract illusionism, illusionistic ceiling painting techniques such as di sotto in sù and quadratura. Sculptural illusionism includes works painted, that appear real from a distance. Other forms, such as the illusionistic tradition in the theatre, Samuel van Hoogstraten's "peepshow"-boxes from the seventeenth century, combine illusionistic techniques and media; the development of accurate representation of the visual appearances of things has a long history in art.

It includes elements such as the accurate depiction of the anatomy of humans and beasts, of perspective and effects of distance, of detailed effects of light and colour. The Art of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe achieved remarkably lifelike depictions of beasts, Ancient Egyptian art developed conventions involving both stylization and idealization that allowed effective depictions to be produced widely and consistently. Ancient Greek art is recognised as having made great progress in the representation of anatomy, has remained an influential model since. No original works on panels or walls by the great Greek painters survive, but from literary accounts, the surviving corpus of derivative works it is clear that illusionism was valued in painting. Pliny the Elder's famous story of birds pecking at grapes painted by Zeuxis in the 5th century BC may well be a legend, but indicates the aspiration of Greek painting; as well as accuracy in shape and colour, Roman paintings show an unscientific but effective knowledge of representing distant objects smaller than closer ones, representing regular geometric forms such as the roof and walls of a room with perspective.

This progress in illusionistic effects in no way meant a rejection of idealism. Roman portraiture, when not under too much Greek influence, shows a greater commitment to a truthful depiction of its subjects; the art of Late Antiquity famously rejected illusionism for expressive force, a change well underway by the time Christianity began to affect the art of the elite. In the West classical standards of illusionism did not begin to be reached again until the Late medieval or Early Renaissance period, were helped by the development of new techniques of oil painting which allowed subtle and precise effects of light to be painted using small brushes and several layers of paint and glaze. Scientific methods of representing perspective were developed in Italy and spread across Europe, accuracy in anatomy rediscovered under the influence of classical art; as in classical times, idealism remained the norm. The accurate depiction of landscape in painting had been developing in Early Netherlandish and Renaissance painting, was brought to a high level in 17th-century Dutch Golden Age painting, with subtle techniques for depicting a range of weather conditions and degrees of natural light.

After being another development of Early Netherlandish painting, by 1600 European portraiture could give a good likeness in both painting and sculpture, though the subjects were idealized by smoothing features or giving them an artificial pose. Still life paintings, still life elements in other works, played a considerable role in developing illusionistic painting, though in the Netherlandish tradition of flower painting they long lacked "realism", in that flowers from all seasons were used, either from the habit of assembling compositions from individual drawings, or as a deliberate convention. Intriguingly, having led the development of illusionic painting, still life was to be significant in its abandonment in Cubism. In his writings and art criticisms during the mid-1960s art critic/artist Donald Judd claimed that illusionism in painting undermined the artform itself. Judd implied that painting was dead, claiming painting was a lie because it depicted the illusion of three-dimensionality on a flat surface.

Judd claimed that painting needed to reject illusion. Donald Judd wrote in “Specific Objects” in 1965: Three dimensions are real space; that gets rid of the problem of illusionism and of literal space, space in and around marks of color… Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface. In the Webster Texas Holiday Inn, close to the Houston Space Center, there is a double illusion ceiling by muralist Frank Wilson, commissioned in honor of US astronauts. Other double illusion murals exist in rooms for officials as well as the dining room, depicting a night sky under darkness and illuminated by glowing minerals. Under normal light and birds are observed


Singani is distilled from white Muscat of Alexandria grapes. It is produced only in the Bolivian high valleys and is considered the national liquor of Bolivia and a cultural patrimony, its character and production methods are closest to eau-de-vie but it is classified as a brandy for purposes of international trade. Singani has been declared a Domain of Origin and a Geographical Indication by the Bolivian government. Singani has been produced since the 16th century, it was first distilled by monastic orders who needing sacramental wine found it expedient to distill. Most sources say the name singani derives from a pre-Columbian village of that name near the mission that first distilled the liquor. Bolivian regulations in 1990s have codified what has long been practiced, the vineyards from which singani is made are to be planted at elevations of 1,600 m or higher. Singani is thereby known as an altitude product in Bolivian legal terms, the official phrase "of altitude" being applied to Bolivian wines and grapevine cultivars.

Although there are vineyards at elevations much higher than the official minimum, they are difficult to manage, most production comes from plantations at around 1,800 m above sea level close to where the wineries and distillation facilities are located. Linguistic evidence suggests that the word “singani” arises from the native Aymara language word “siwingani”; because the Latin-alphabet representation of Aymara sounds is approximate, this word is alternatively spelled as “sivingani”, “siwinkani”, similar variants. Sivinga or siwinga is the word for “sedge”, a riparian plant found in Andean valleys protected from weather extremes; the suffix “ni” means “the place of”, which thereby becomes “the place where sedges grow”. With the advent of European settlement, the native word was reduced through syncope to “singani”. There are various such placenames in Bolivia and today, it is not clear which site first became known for producing singani liquor, although there are at least three probable candidates.

The common thread of the etymon is the prehistoric native placename, followed by pre-Columbian settlements of that name at these locations, the founding of missions at those locations, the production of wine, the rise of haciendas with that placename, the production of liquor, the trading of that liquor into the city of Potosí. Based on genetic studies, two seminal varieties of grape were introduced to the Americas as early as 1520 by Spanish immigrants arriving via the Canary Islands where these varieties were well established, muscat of alexandria and mission. After the former arrived in the Viceroyalty of New Castille, it gave rise to modern varieties such as criolla and torrontés which are used today in distilled liquors and wine. Spanish explorers under Francisco Pizzaro reached the Inca empire in 1528, they and accompanying religious orders entered the land far south of Cuzco immediately thereafter. By 1538 while Lower Peru was still unsettled due to war, official Spanish cities such as the future archdiocese at Sucre were initiated in Upper Peru or what is today Bolivia.

In 1545 a massive silver strike was discovered nearby at the Cerro Potosi. Because of the importance of this site—nearly all of the silver on the Spanish Main originated from there—special attention from the Spanish Crown and allied missions resulted in the establishment of a greater number of religious settlements in the general area. Within this timeframe the growing mining town of Potosi became the Imperial City of Potosi, at that time one of the largest and richest cities in the world, by far the largest city in the Americas; these factors —an unprecedented large city and a profusion of wine-making missions nearby—set the stage for the emergence of singani. Grapevines were introduced into the mountain valleys of Bolivia by Spanish missionaries arriving as early as 1530, the production of wine in Bolivia is first known from these places; the need for wine was driven by the requirements of the Eucharist liturgy, wherever there was a mission there would be some attempt at winemaking. The date range for the initiation of wine production in Bolivia is from about the 1530s to the 1550s which corresponds to the initiation of winemaking in neighboring Peru and Chile.

It is believed that singani as a name for the distilled spirit arose in that timeframe during the latter half of the 16th Century. Most distilled liquor in the Spanish colonies was called aguardiente, many present-day liquor names in the Americas being adopted only by the 17th Century or later. Three factors would combine to persuade 16th Century Bolivian liquor merchants to label their product: for those who could dominate it, the massively large market and wealth generator of nearby Potosi; the three areas where the use of the word singani got its start stretch in an arc from the Potosi to the Spanish royal road connecting Lima and Buenos Aires. Sivingani Canton in Mizque Province was an early religious mission center and wine producer in the 1540s. A native settlement called Sivingani lay aside the Uruchini River in the San Lucas municipality of Nor Cinti Province in an area known as the Cintis, and, believed to have been producing wine and grape-based liquor as early as the 1550s. Another area includes placename settlements in the T'uruchipa Valley, the Vicchoca val

Archduke (butterfly)

The archdukes are a genus, Lexias, of tropical forest-dwelling butterflies that are common throughout Southeast Asia and Australasia. Members of the brush-footed butterfly family Nymphalidae, the genus is represented by about 17 species. Two similar and coexisting genera are Tanaecia and Euthalia, the latter including some Lexias species; the largest species reach a wingspan of about 10 cm. Lexias pardalis and L. dirtea are among the most colourful archdukes. Sexual dichromatism is however extreme, with the two sexes appearing different; the males' dorsal wing surfaces are a dramatic combination of velvety black forewings and metallic blue green to violet covering the margins of the forewings and hindwings. The females' dorsal wing surfaces are a drab brown, with small yellowish white spots. Both sexes have drab ventral wings as a means of camouflage; the dramatic colours of the males are thought to play a role in intraspecies communication, both by signalling to other males when defending territory, by attracting females.

L. pardalis and L. dirtea, two farmed species, are nearly identical and confused, but they can be distinguished by their differing antennae: the dorsal surface of L. pardalis' antennae tips are yellow orange, whereas they are black in L. dirtea. Caterpillars of the genus are protected from predators by their long spinous bristles. Archduke chrysalids are angular in shape. Calophyllum trees are host to the caterpillars of Southeast Asian archdukes; the observed readiness of Southeast Asian species to feed on both decaying fruit and the nectar of flowers suggests that these species inhabit the forest periphery. Because both types of food are common in this habitat, the Southeast Asian archdukes have not become specialised in feeding on one or the other, as is usual in butterflies. Archdukes are found in virgin forests and are attracted to sunlit areas such as clearings and paths. Several archduke species are raised in large numbers on butterfly farms for the specimen collecting market and for live sale to butterfly conservatories.

The most farmed species are L. pardalis and L. dirtea. In alphabetical order: Lexias acutipenna Chou & Li, 1994 Lexias aeetes Lexias aegle Lexias aeropa – orange-banded plane Lexias albopunctata Lexias bangkana Lexias canescens - yellow archduke Lexias cyanipardus – great archduke Lexias damalis Lexias dirtea – archduke Lexias elna Lexias hikarugenzi Tsukada & Nishiyama, 1980 Lexias immaculata Lexias panopus C. & R. Felder, 1861 Lexias pardalis Lexias perdix Lexias satrapes C. & R. Felder, 1861 Harris, M.. The Archduke reigns. ISU Extension News Release. Retrieved 20 May 2005 from Missouri Botanical Garden Butterfly House.. The Archduke - Male. Retrieved May 20, 2005 from Savela, M.. Limenitidinae. Retrieved 20 May 2005 from Data related to Lexias at Wikispecies