Visual illusions in painting

Visual illusions in art have become widespread in ancient times, apparently the very concept of optical, psychological, emotional illusions is very close to creativity. Most likely, any creativity in its basis is based on various types of illusions. In any case, psychologists believe that the perception of any work of art depends on the individual characteristics of the human brain.

Optical art became a separate trend rather late – in the 50s of the last century, but it did not come out of nowhere, many pictures of the past confirm that artists have always used visual illusions in their creativity.

Artists use illusory techniques, deliberately creating unimaginable and “non-existent” in real life effects of floating in the air of elements, visual movement, or the fusion of lines. They introduce sharp contrasting tones into their pictures, sinuous and intermittent lines, spiral images, lattice configurations, which creates an illusion of air, fluidity, changing with different illumination of space. With the help of the usual graphic techniques, you can create an illusion of movement on the art canvas.

Of great importance for creating a visual illusion is the willingness of the viewer to “see” the image to which he is tuned. So, for example, in a picture in perception of spectators the geometrical ornamental pattern “comes to life”. Moreover, the more complex the ornament, the more spatial and “alive” it looks to the viewer. The most interesting effect of illusory perception is that each person sees the same image in different ways.

Visual illusions in painting

One of the directions of visual experiments is the study of a class of images with coincidence of the general tone of the figure and the background. For example, you can imagine the same image on different backgrounds, on a white background it will be large and convex, in multi-colored and figured – surprisingly, is lost. Probably, almost every person knows that to consider a picture painted with smears, it is necessary at a distance, and, the more it is, the clearer the image will actually appear.

Optical art destroys the stereotypes of seeing images, because illusions create an impression on the audience of movement, spatial vibration, the flow of objects and bends that do not exist in reality. The spectator, being firmly convinced that before him a flat still image, begins to “see” how it moves in space.

The creation of this trend in the work of artists is based on a specific graphic technology, in the precise definition of the essence of which, experts still disagree. It is called dashed stereography, live graphics, light stereography, – stereo – blakotectonics, which can be analogous to holography.

Light Stereography is a graphic composition consisting of circular dashed lines, which are a raster field; on it, with a certain kind of illumination (using a point light source), a whole image of the stereo cube appears.

Actually optical art and uses optical (visual) illusions, the origin of which is based on the features of human perception of flat and spatial forms. The first attempts to create paintings in the style of op-art appeared in the late 19th century. In 1889 the German professor Thompson presented in his yearbook Das neue Universum his article on optical illusions, illustrated with black and white concentric circles, which created an illusion of movement on the plane.

Thompson’s drawings show wheels that “spin” and circles that “shimmer”. Of course, these images were far from art, they only demonstrated the effect of creating an illusory perception of a flat image (world fame came to the flow of op-art in 1965 during the exhibition in New York, which was called very accurately – “Sensitive Eye”).

Visual illusions in painting

The followers of op-art used in their work optical illusions, based on the features of the perception of the human eye of flat and spatial figures, as well as, individual human capabilities, subconsciously create illusions. Optical art is the art of creating visual illusions, based on personal visual illusion, in other words, the illusory image exists not in the picture, but in the eyes, and in the mind of the viewer.

For example, looking at alternating black and white concentric circles, a person creates in his consciousness the illusion that out of nowhere there are rays crossing them, and rotating like a propeller. In the figure of the cube, on which its edges are selected, the person “sees” how its faces change places, coming to the fore, and retreating inward. If the figure shows a straight line that intersects the segment with dashes, then the illusion of a polyline appears. The mutual superposition of two geometric elements creates, for example, a wave effect.

Thanks to optical illusions, psychologists managed to discover certain patterns of visual perception. When human beings perceive real objects, illusions practically do not arise, therefore, to reveal hidden mechanisms of perception, it is necessary to create unusual conditions for the human eye, that is, to make the eye “solve” non-standard problems.

Gradually, these features of the “strange” and wrong perception of the human eye by various combinations of images on canvas began to be used by artists in their works. For example, in the painting “Flow” (Bridget Riley, 1964), the whole surface is covered with thin wavy lines that become steeper in the middle of the image, which creates the illusion of a shaky flow that separates from the plane. In the work “Cataract III” the artist manages to create the effect of moving waves.

The main task of an op-art is a conscious deception of the eye, the creation of a provocation, in which its false reaction arises, causing a “non-existent” image. A visual contradictory image creates an artificial conflict between the real form and the visible form, in other words, optical art deliberately forms an opposition to the norms of perception. Psychologists could prove that the eye tries to create a simple system (or gestalt) out of chaotically scattered spots and strokes.

In the works of art, five types of illusions are most often encountered. Images, on which an illusory, absolutely correct perspective, in reality proves impossible (to this form of illusion also include impossible figures, for example, the famous Penrose triangle).

Visual illusions in painting

A second kind of illusory images are dual paintings, that is, images that contain elements that are invisible at first glance. Of great interest are the so-called picture-turntables, which are images that, when viewed from different angles, change their meaning (content).

Anamorphosis is generally a separate representative of optical art, images in pictures should be viewed only from a certain angle, at a specific distance or with the help of a specially made mirror, called an anamorphoscope. Dummies are images that represent the most real and, at the same time, the most deceptive type of illusion, the objects depicted on them pretend to be real.

Artists have always been tempted by the opportunity to depict simultaneously different properties of one and the same phenomenon or object, element. Incarnating in their art paintings legends and myths, they painted some animals (elephants, camels) in the woven figures of people, other animals and birds.

The so-called two-faced paintings appeared in Europe in the 15th century, and were originally of a satirical, caricature nature, on the canvases all images were disguised, in order to avoid punishment.The peculiar illusory images were endangered images and ghost images, which could only be viewed from the desired angle.

A special reception of optical pictures with a double (triple or more) image, or rather with hidden pictures, is to use the artists’ contours of the depicted objects. Medieval France is conditionally considered the ancestor of the hidden silhouettes.

Today, modern artists have significantly increased, both the subject of their work, and the methods of hidden images. In the colors you can suddenly find a child’s face, the beard of the forest god hides the Leshoy himself, the bird turns into a charming woman’s head – this is all the metamorphosis of illusory. What is most mysterious in such images is that not everyone can see the hidden essence of the picture.

Visual illusions in painting

The most famous hidden canvas is the “Disappearing image” of Salvador Dali, which depicts his portrait and the figure of his wife. If you look from afar to the picture, then Dali’s face is visible in profile, and as you approach the picture, the figure of the woman who reads the letter more clearly appears.

Visual illusions in painting

The well-known picture of the Mexican artist Octavio Ocampo portrays Don Quixote, so all the spectators at first are surprised by its name – “Don Quixote and Sancho Panza”. In reality, the picture depicts these famous characters riding nearby, but in order to see this, it is necessary to come almost to the canvas, and if you look at this picture from a distance, then two inseparable friends merge into the portrait of Don Quixote.

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