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The A-Z of Visual Ideas by John Ingledew

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One thing looks like another

There is a long history of creative people spotting striking visual similarities between objects. In France, in 1832, Charles Philipon was jailed for drawing a satirical caricature of the king as a fat pear – poire is French slang for a dullard. In the court case that followed he was acquitted after he asked the jury, ‘Is it my fault if His Majesty looks like a pear?’ and drew a series of sketches that demonstrated the resemblance was undeniable.

Picasso exhibited bicycle saddles that look like bull’s and monkey’s heads: he simply displayed the saddles upright to show the visual coincidence. Salvador Dalí playfully sculpted his moustache into a dollar sign for publicity photographs, a witty visual riposte to critics ...

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