Great works of art, such as the Mona Lisa and Whistler's Mother, can be deceptive their simplicity.

Why is can be + adj followed with a noun?

And because of that I'm not really sure about the meaning. Does the person want to say that art can be simple yet remarkable?

  • 2
    It should say "... can be deceptive in their simplicity". It doesn't make sense as is. – nnnnnn Sep 5 '19 at 8:25
  • @nnnnnn Now I understand, but what about the meaning? – user359347 Sep 5 '19 at 8:36
  • Your interpretation is correct. Deceptive simplicity and deceptive in its simplicity are common expressions meaning that the thing in question may seem simple, but despite that is actually remarkable or important. A painting or a machine, for example, may be constructed using simple techniques or components, but the combined effect may be remarkable. (Of course many simple things "are* unremarkable.) – nnnnnn Sep 5 '19 at 8:53
  • @nnnnnn It's all clear now, thank you – user359347 Sep 5 '19 at 9:05

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