Magic has enchanted humankind for millennia, evoking terror, laughter, shock, and amazement. Once persecuted as heretics and sorcerers, magicians have always been conduits to a parallel universe of limitless possibility whether invoking spirits, reading minds, or inverting the laws of nature by sleight of hand. Long before science fiction, virtual realities, video games and the internet, the craft of magic was the most powerful fantasy world man had ever known. As the pioneers of special effects throughout history, magicians have never ceased to mystify us by making the impossible possible.
This book celebrates more than 500 years of the dazzling visual culture of the world s greatest magicians. Featuring over 1,000 rarely seen vintage posters, photographs, handbills, and engravings in one 650-page volume, it traces the history of magic as a performing art from the 1400s to the 1950s. Combining sensational images with lucid and incisive text, Magic explores the evolution of the magician s craft, from medieval street performers to the brilliant stage magicians who gave rise to cinematic special effects; from the 19th century s Golden Age of Magic to groundbreaking daredevils like Houdini and the early 20th century' vaudevillians.
As an avid collector of magic posters, this book left me speechless. The author (more like a curator) shot over 25,000 photos and culled the most visually interesting works of magic art from top collectors around the globe down to around a thousand images. Each picture is reproduced in the highest quality I have ever seen in an art book and the pages are of a size to allow every detail to be savored. Paired with the gorgeous imagery are a collection of essays that transcend typical magic history books by illuminating the art through a revealing narrative of the themes that evolved in the performance of magic.