05 February 2013


Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. The word "anamorphosis" is derived from the Greek prefix ana-, meaning back or again, and the word morphe, meaning shape or form.

There are two main types of anamorphosis: perspective (oblique) and mirror (catoptric). Examples of perspectival anamorphosis date to the early Renaissance (fifteenth century). Examples of mirror anamorphosis were first created in the late Renaissance (sixteenth century).
More details at Wikipedia, which also has pictures of other anamorphic illustrations, and a link to a commercially-available toy you can purchase to make your own.


  1. My kids loved this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is an extraordinary coincidence: just last night I discovered that google has an "art project" in which they have over 37,000 works of art online, and on the front page of their website was a painting - done in 1533 - called The Ambassadors (by Hans Holbein the Younger) that has a striking example of this anamorphism theme. Holbein put a strange thinnish oval shape right in the front of the very serious and detailed painting but from a certain angle that shape appears as something we all know. The wiki page about it is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ambassadors_(Holbein)

    Lately, of course, we've seen emails with pavement art on streets in Europe that uses anamorphism and it is also used by advertisers on sports grounds. It's so odd to think the idea is far from modern, but is around 500 years old!


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