Arturo de Ascanio

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Arturo de Ascanio (1929 – 6 April 1997) is considered the father of Spanish card magic, referred to by Milbourne Christopher as "the Dai Vernon of Spain".

Maestro Ascanio (as he was called by contemporary magician Juan Tamariz) was born Arturo de Ascanio y Navaz in the Canary Islands. He is famous for adding many theories, techniques and tricks to the breadth of card magic. He died in Madrid.

Theories of magic[edit]

Ascanio placed great importance on the idea of naturalness, nonchalance, and slowness of action. He believed that any hurried, or unnatural looking actions would destroy the magical atmosphere.


Ascanio is most famous for a technique called the "Ascanio Spread". This name was given by Fred Kaps; Ascanio himself gave the technique the more modest title of "The Wiggle." Along with this came several variations of the spread and several methods of laying cards onto a table from the spread in such a way as to hide their true quantity.


The tricks Ascanio improved upon are innumerable, but his signature pieces include "Aces with Love" and " Sleightless Oil and Water". His original tricks include "The Restless Lady" and "The Aces of my Exam". Ascanio himself went through many variations of these tricks before settling on the standard handlings the magic community has today.


  • Ascanio: A Biographical Interview, by Docampo, published in Ilusionismo #178, 1959
  • The Magic of Ascanio: The Structural Conception of Magic, by Ascanio and Etcheverry
  • The Magic of Ascanio: Studies of Card Magic, by Etcheverry