The Alice App About The App

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the iPad is an interactive application as well as an experience of Renaissance art. Illustrator and creator Emmanuel Paletz has created new ways to simultaneously transport readers and crack the riddles of Lewis Carroll's long-admired classic. By incorporating Dutch and Flemish Renaissance art, Paletz has found a way to visually reveal the many political, historical, philosophical, and social layers of this tale.

This story has been told many times before but never in this light. With incredible detail, subtle imagery, and historical influence, Paletz has designed more than a whimsical children's book. This is an art book, a conceptual book, and an educational book. People who love Renaissance art will sit down with this application and appreciate the hints and riddles Paletz pulls from Carroll's work and weaves into his collages. Parents will sit with their children and bring them lessons in history and art through Alice's highly imaginative tale. With the application's interactive features, combined animations, and sound effects, readers will find a new way to get lost in reading. This book is for anyone who is craving adventure.

To portray the colorful events and idiosyncratic characters of this book, Paletz gleaned bits and pieces from Jan van Eyck, Joachim Patinir, Leonardo di Vinci, Hans Holbein, Sandro Botticelli, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Quentin Matsys and more, combining them into his signature visual collages which dazzle the eye. Given that "Alice" is a book filled with riddles, puzzles, illogical delightfulness, and brainteasers, Paletz challenged himself to echo these ideas in a conceptual visual interpretation. Paletz has taken his expertise in art and design to a new level and combined it with his passion for classic children's literature. Influenced by the artistic sensibilities and strikingly lifelike images of Renaissance painting, he set out to give the same kind of lifelike feeling to the magnificent fantasy world of Alice.

This application also draws from history in its quest to explore new directions, unconventional ideas, and fresh, new perspectives. It hopes to do what any good piece of art or literature does best: create a dialogue, cause a controversy, and make people think differently - or at least make them think, period, about the world around and within them.

The Meaning Behind the Image

Below, Emmanuel Paletz goes into some of the details of his image choices and what went into several of his illustrations.
  • The depiction of Alice falling down the rabbit hole was inspired by the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance paintings that included a convex mirror. The view in a convex mirror reflects what is seen beyond the paintings. My mirror reflects with detail a whole world that is a mystery to us. This mirror is an analog for what Alice will see in her journey.

  • "The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great letter, nearly as large as himself, and this he handed over to the other, saying, in a solemn tone, 'For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet.'"

    Later in the infamous croquet game, the Queen orders the execution of everyone. I chose to dress up the footman in French Revolution military uniforms as a reference to the historic events of the French revolution in the time of Robespierre, when he executed his opponents. The Fish-Foot is the queen's messenger, and later in the story, the queen wants to execute the Duchess.

  • The concept for the Time Man is that time is linear, so we define time in terms of quantities such as minutes, hours, or years. In this case, the hatter regards time as a real person. For this, I was inspired by "The Garden of Earthly Delights," a triptych painted by the early Netherlanders master Hieronymus Bosch, where he intended to illustrate heaven and hell. Philosophy and religion both raise questions about time, and they merge together seamlessly through this illustration.

  • For the croquet ground image, I dressed the royalty in the clothes of the English Renaissance. The queen is dressed with the clothes of Elizabeth I, the Queen of England, as painted by Steven van der Meulen, c. 1563. The king is dressed with the Clothes of Henry VIII of England, as painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

  • The last scene of Alice's adventure occurs just before she wakes up from her dream. In a whirling image of a pack of cards rising up in the air, I added objects and characters that Alice met before throughout this adventure. Now they are all spinning away in a big vertigo, dissolving while Alice is slowly waking up from her dream.

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