Magic (illusion)

Magic, which encompasses the subgenres of illusion, stage magic, and close up magic, among others, is a performing art in which audiences are entertained by tricks, effects, or illusions of seemingly impossible feats, using natural means.[1][2] It is to be distinguished from paranormal magic which are effects claimed to be created through supernatural means. It is one of the oldest performing arts in the world.

The Conjurer, 1475–1480, by Hieronymus Bosch or his workshop. Notice how the man in the back row steals another man's purse while applying misdirection by looking at the sky. The artist even misdirects the viewer from the thief by drawing the viewer to the magician.

Modern entertainment magic, as pioneered by 19th-century magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, has become a popular theatrical art form.[3] In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, magicians such as Maskelyne and Devant, Howard Thurston, Harry Kellar, and Harry Houdini achieved widespread commercial success during what has become known as "the Golden Age of Magic."[4] During this period, performance magic became a staple of Broadway theatre, vaudeville, and music halls. Magic retained its popularity in the television age, with magicians such as Paul Daniels, David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and Derren Brown modernizing the art form.[5]

The world's largest-selling publication for magicians, Magic magazine,[6] curated a list of the "100 most influential magicians of the 20th century" to have contributed to the modern development of the art of magic.[7] According to the magician-culled list titled "Those Who Most Affected The Art in America," Houdini holds the first rank. Then, in decreasing order, Dai Vernon, David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone, Doug Henning, Tarbell, Cardini, Mark Wilson, Siegfried and Roy, and finally Thurston at number 10.

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