21 August 2010

Smoke and Mirrors: The Conjurer

Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), the early Netherlandish painter showed a world full of tricksters in The Conjurer. The magician wears the tall hat of the ruling court while a Dominican monk steals the purse of the woman watching the illusion. Whereas Bosch depicts the wealthy and powerful as thieves, French Baroque painter Georges de la Tour (1593-1652) portrays the wealthy being robbed by the poor. In his genre painting, The Fortune Teller an old gypsy woman tells a vain young man his fortune while her companions steal his valuables. The fortune teller wears a distinctive robe decorated with birds of prey attacking innocent rabbits. Despite these warnings through time we continue to be fascinated by illusion. American Charles Joseph Carter (1874-1936) was a part of the Golden Age of Magic. Although he was a successful journalist and lawyer he chose to practice magic on the stage under the name Carter the Great. An astute marketer as well as an accomplished magician, Carter promoted himself through fine lithographed posters.


13 comments:

  1. Could the court and the monks be in league?! Magician Carter was also a journalist and lawyer - I wonder if he was a good illusionist in all three fields.

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  2. Yes, I think the court and monks were definitely in league and I do think there is a lot of smoke and mirrors in both journalism and law! Best, Kendra

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  3. de la Tour is de-la-lish; exquisite artist, and love his work.

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  4. I so agree columnist! Best, Kendra

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  5. I never noticed the raptors slaying the rabbits, great observation. Sudden symbolism gets me every time, thanks for pointing it out.
    The Bosch is of course marvelous, and I have a soft spot for chromo-lithos, particularly when they feature bat winged creatures.

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  6. Thank you Leonard, I'm intrigued by the conjurer's companion dog. There is something very steampunk about him; I'm sure I've seen him on the streets of San Francisco. Best, Kendra

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  7. He looks like he might be a chihuahau in a leather harness...how Paris Hilton he is! :0

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  8. That's where I've seen that dog! :-)

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  9. i have a little chihuahua, with a similar harness, he also happens to have a jester's ruff with bells. he does indeed look steampunk/gothick revival. I am of the belief that my little spoiled dogs must earn their keep by amusing me . My pug wears bat wings, enchanting.

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  10. Leonard, i am so jealous! I have always had cats and they will have nothing to do with costumes. I learned that as a child when I dressed our Siamese in doll's clothes and he went running as they went flying. I love the image of the bat wings. Best, Kendra

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  11. Check FB, i just posted Daisy in bat wings for you.
    She is a goofy delight.
    Leonard

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  12. And yes, cat's are not jesters.

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  13. Thank you Leonard for the lovely portrait of Daisy. Sometimes cats are jesters by accident.

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