CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Kunst und Illusion – Das Spiel mit dem Betrachter

Art and illusion – playing with the viewer Exhibition: 15 July 2016 - 15 January 2017

The exhibition has been extended through 15 January 2017.

Information from the curator, 28 June 2016

Since the antiquity, illusion has occupied a key role within the arts: The reality conjured by the artist on canvas, paper or in stone proves to be only a skillful imitation of real life. With the refinement of artistic techniques, art´s potential for deception became evermore convincing. Vital to this was the idea of rivalry both with nature as with other art genres. The ability to stun and entertain audiences by means of successful illusionistic devices bore witness to the highest artistic abilities. Likewise, the interplay of reality and illusion also invited thoughts on the transience of life.

The exhibition at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe tells the story of illusion, deception and its penetration in art through the rich historic collections assembled by the landgraves of Hessen-Kassel. Paintings and works on paper, objects of applied art and furniture as well as optical instruments and wallpapers from seven different collections of the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel are united to provide an intriguing insight into the topic of illusion from a broad range of viewpoints. Space and perspective, nature and art, materials and objects become the focus of artful deception. The exhibition thus offers an extraordinary look at the treasures of the Kassel collections, presenting familiar masterpieces by Rembrandt, Jan Gossaert and Sibylla Merian among others next to little or unknown works displayed for the first time.