ANAMORPHOSIS: An art form where the image is greatly distorted, appearing only from a specific vantage point or upon…

ANAMORPHOSIS: An art form where the image is greatly distorted, appearing only from a specific vantage point or upon reflection in a cylindrical mirror (or reflecting cones and pyramids). The painting (by Julian Beever) on the pavement is fragmented and meaningless to most viewers. But find the sweet spot, and Whoa! A giant snail appears to crawl on the city bench. (

• Leonardo da Vinci is thought to have made the first anamorphic drawing in 1485, at a time when Renaissance artists were experimenting with perspective (Leonardo’s Eye -Illusion).  Hidden images conveyed dangerous political statements, heretical ideas, and even erotic images.

The Ambassadors: A famous example is the 1533 painting by Hans Holbein called “The Ambassadors”. When viewed from an extreme angle, a smudge at the bottom in an otherwise conventional painting reveals itself to be a grinning skull. Hans_Holbein the younger_The Ambassadors (amazing skull )

What does it mean? Holbein’s skull – Part one | Paintings | The National Gallery, London

Medusa’s Head pays homage to the legend of Perseus, who could only look upon the snake headed monster in the reflection of his shield:

What are your favorites in illusory art?

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42 Responses to ANAMORPHOSIS: An art form where the image is greatly distorted, appearing only from a specific vantage point or upon…

  1. Rajini Rao says:

    Forgot to add, examples seen with cylindrical mirror: Anamorphic Illusion Art

  2. Fred Gandt says:

    By far and away the best of these I have seen so far!

    Very awesome indeed.

    Thanks Rajini Rao 🙂

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    You are welcome, Fred Gandt . I had to restrain myself with only a few examples..they are so cool 🙂

  4. John Bump says:

    If you wanted to post a few more, I think people would enjoy it.

  5. Fred Gandt says:

    I have a copy of the Hans Holbein’s “Ambassadors” _skull painting_ in a book right beside me (now on my lap).

    I didn’t even notice the skull until a friend pointed it out.

    I kind of skipped over it as the style is not my cup of tea.

    Strangest thing is how oddly modern the skull looks compared to the rest of the picture.

    I think it may be because only in the last 30 years have we got used to seeing images distorted like that so accurately (via CG and Photoshopping etc.), so it appears almost superimposed.

    It’s actually really weird!

    Love the snail though 🙂

  6. Rajini Rao says:

    Fred Gandt  I read somewhere that the painting was hung on the wall alongside a staircase, so perhaps the skull would pop into view only on a particular step. Also, did you notice there is a crucifix or something in the upper left behind the drapes?

  7. Fred Gandt says:

    Sharing one of my favourite painting for no other reason that I love it!

    Nothing at all to do with the current subject (other than art of course).

  8. Fred Gandt says:

    I can’t see an obvious crucifix on the (relatively small) print I have here.

    The angle to see the skull is very steep. The correct angle is definitely from below left or above right, so being hung in a stairwell would make sense.

    Nothing helpful in the book’s description.

  9. Fred Gandt says:

    LOL. My book cropped it out!

    Awesome study material 😉

  10. Rajini Rao says:

    Here’s a cool image of a tiger painted on the bodies of three models! Posted by Tom Lee :

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s what I read too, Scott Hatch . Modern versions use street art rather than cylindrical mirrors to the same effect.

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Unless they happen to be Amour d’escargots! Caution, snail porn: microcosmos – Snails of beauty High Quality

  13. Rajini Rao says:

    Sublime slime 🙂

  14. Rajini Rao says:

    Gastronomic gastropod

  15. Wondering how many people sit on that portion of the bench, especially if they understand the image. (slime) 🙂

  16. they are on a slippery slope

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    Cheryl Ann MacDonald, Psy’D. , once seen, it cannot be unseen! LOL, Deepa Ramasamy ! My brain is working at a snails’ pace to counter.

  18. Rajini Rao says:

    You slug a bug, Feisal Kamil

  19. Yes sticky business indeed!

  20. it should be very horable experience!

  21. Hi rajini , its nice 

  22. I’ve seen the pavement drawings that get very realistic from the right angle – the swimming pool and such – but those are neve quite this distorted. This is really awesome, thanks Rajini Rao.

  23. Vini Asode says:

    ats so cool i mean a never seen this kind of paint

  24. place is very beautiful

  25. I am deeply fascinated by such works of Art. Do keep posting similar installations.

  26. apka..good..colection..good..profile


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