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The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting Hardcover – Aug 1 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811831361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811831369
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 3 x 31.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #726,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

"The beauty of a matte shot is that you can become God," Alfred Hitchcock said, and it's a fitting epigram to this remarkable study of a little-known facet of Hollywood illusion-the art of painting background scenery on glass. Captured by the camera and merged with live action, a distant galaxy, a lost empire or an impossible landscape can look undeniably real. And yet, among all the masters of filmic art's smoke and mirrors-the fashioners of masks and prosthetic limbs, the pyrotechnic wizards behind giant, slow motion explosions-matte painters remain some of the least appreciated artisans. (It is, note the authors, their very genius that keeps them "unsung": audiences often don't even know that what they're seeing isn't real.) This book represents the first sustained look at the art and technology of matte painting. Featuring over 400 images, plus interviews with many of the greatest matte painters themselves, it tells a story of wildly inventive artifice and myriad man-hours, offering a peek inside a guild of genuine movie magicians. As a feast of technical information and an alternative history of movies themselves, from their frontier days to the global system as it exists today, this book is a labor of both love and intelligence.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This work explores the invention and use of glass matte paintings in film. Created as backgrounds by talented artists, these paintings were then blended with live-action shots to show, for instance, the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind and the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments. Cotta Vaz and Barron have done extensive research on this little-known art form, starting with its earliest use and moving to the digital age. Much of the information is drawn from firsthand interviews with artists who have worked on major films, with the chapters on Gone with the Wind, King Kong, and earlier epics proving to be of particular interest. The color photos are beautifully reproduced on high-quality paper, and the accompanying CD shows how glass painting is used with text from the book. This is not only an "invisible art" but also, unfortunately, a dying one as digital technology slowly replaces the artists. Drawbacks to a book like this are its limited appeal, oversized format, and high price. But it is still highly recommended for academic libraries with strong film, art, and digital art programs, and other large libraries should consider it.
Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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on November 13, 2003
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