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Q: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Visual Arts
Asked by: alxtrzch-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 15 Jun 2006 11:14 PDT
Expires: 15 Jul 2006 11:14 PDT
Question ID: 738453
"The Ambassadors" is a painting by Hans Holbein that uses a fairly
conventional representational approach with the exception of a
distorted skull that skews across the bottom of the canvas. This
anamorphic figure is legible as a skull when the painting is viewed
from an extreme oblique angle, but at that point, the rest of painting
loses its intelligibility.

Most anamorphic art is constructed upon a single vantage point. A good
example is Andrea Pozzo's illusionistic dome at S. Ignazio.

"The Ambassadors" on the other hand sets itself apart from other
anamorphic works by the fact that it's impossible to legibly see both
representations (the portrait of the ambassadors and the skull)

I'm looking for other works of art -- not just painting but sculpture
as well -- that use anamorphic techniques that are premised on
multiple and competing vantage points.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 20 Jun 2006 20:18 PDT
I don't know if this quite meets your criteria or not, but it's a very
cool work of art just the same:
Lunch with a Helmut On [by Shigeo Fukuda]

The photo is about halfway down the page -- look for a motorcycle.

Clarification of Question by alxtrzch-ga on 21 Jun 2006 08:26 PDT
Oh yes, I came across that sculpture a while back on the Cool Tools site:

I'd forgotten about it. It's a great work and a helpful suggestion.
I'm torn about how it fits into the overall anamorphic tradition. One
the one hand, the legible image of the motorcycle is constructed about
a single point -- in this case the position of the light source rather
than the position of an eye. In that sense, it's very traditional and
no different than Pozzo's dome. On the other hand, since the geometry
of light and vision behave identically (it's not uncommon to find eyes
represented as light sources in ancient art) it's as if the viewer's
eye has been displaced to the light source. The effect is that one can
only see the work as simultaneously coherent and distorted.

It's definitely along the lines of what I'm interested in finding.
Thanks again for the suggestion.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: myoarin-ga on 16 Jun 2006 02:16 PDT
I recall at least one painting (Vermeer?) with that has a convex
mirror reflecting the appropriately distorted view.  Does that count?

I also seem to remember a painting that included an anamorphic image
with a tubular mirror, but I am not so sure about this.

Would any of Picasso's "distorted" works count?
Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: alxtrzch-ga on 16 Jun 2006 06:55 PDT
Good point. I think you're referring to "The Marriage of Giovanni
Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami" by Jan van Eyck. This has a convex
mirror in the background which includes the backs of the couple and a
self-portrait of van Eyck, all distorted according to the optical
effects of a convex form.

Though there are two different views within the same painting in this
instance, it's all quite rational and cohesive. I'm more interested in
works that require the extreme vantage points of anamorphosis (e.g.,
looking at a canvas or sculpture from a very skewed angle) but where
when one thing becomes legible then something else distorts. In other
words, works where the totality is intentionally never possible from a
single point of view.

An interesting example of sculptural anamorphosis is the Nanning
Gateway by Denton Corker Marshall. If you're interested, images can be
found here under "infrastructure":

The cohesive image of the two roadside flowers is available at only
one point. It's an illusion (spatial anamorphosis) that becomes
apparent as one passes by and one of the flowers fragments. Another
example is the MoMA QNS sign by Michael Maltzan (which has a kind of
cubist fragmentation, even when seen from the ideal point of view).
But still in both the examples, there's the one vantage point -- the
"sweet spot" from which the total view is cohesive. (Incidentally,
it's worth pointing out that this spot in the MoMA QNS project is only
available in motion from the elevated train that passes by, which I
think is a beautiful way of undercutting the stasis of traditional
anamorphic representation.)

Regarding your comment about tubular mirrors -- yes, there are a
number of paintings that are distorted in such a way that when a
tubular or conical mirror is placed on the surface, then the
representation becomes legible. Again, these are always based on one
ideal view. I did however just visit Chicago's Millenium Park, where
Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" is a kind of large-scale version of this
phenomenon. However here he uses a shape reminiscent of a jelly bean,
and the effect is closer to a fun house mirror rather than having any
clear anamorphic/perspectival agenda.

Regarding Picasso's distorted views, my take is that Cubism generally
broke away from rational perspective, and therefore doesn't fit within
the anamorphic model in which I'm currently interested.

Hopefully this helps clarify what I'm after. Thanks again for the input.
Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: myoarin-ga on 19 Jun 2006 04:53 PDT
Yes, of course, van Eyck.
I understand what you are looking for, and a bit better on sculpture
with the picture of the Nanning Gateway, thanks (though it still
escapes me).
Perhaps this site suggests a search approach, but it does indeed seem
that few artists combined anamorphic images with normal perspective.

Al Seckel may be someone who can help you:

The references on this site may be of help, though I expect that you
are close enough to the subject to have explored them already:

I saw the 1998 exhibit on anamorphosis in the National Gallery in
London, hence my seemed recollection that there was an image for
tubular mirrors included in a painting with normal perspective.

Maybe some of Escher's earlier works qualify (no images):

But here are Escher pictures:

Istvan Orosz could be of interest, click on images and enlarge them:

This is interesting, but only mixes perspective by being a painted image in a
larger structure:

Here is someone else who may be able to help:

This site mentions several contemporary artists that have used anamorphosis:

Dali's surrealism includes some anamorphic images one site said.  I am
sure that you don't need references   - and may disregard his work for
your purpose.

It's been interesting, but I am afraid not much help.
Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: alxtrzch-ga on 20 Jun 2006 19:47 PDT
Thanks. These are all great resources. I wasn't familiar with the work
of István Orosz, and actually the stair painting/drawing is exactly
the sort of project I've been looking for:

The syntax of the work (the inability for a single viewer to legibly
perceive both images simultaneously) is great. Just what I needed.

Much thanks.
Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: myoarin-ga on 22 Jun 2006 05:12 PDT
Glad that my comment was of some use.
The motorcyle sculpture is really intriguing.  I would assume that
someone viewing the sculpture from the source of the light against a
light background (where the shadow appears) would see the silhouette
of the bike  - obviously more apparent if the sculpture is not lit
from the observer's side.  Flood it with light, and he might not
recognized this as his eye focuses on the sculpture, and certainly not
as he moves his eye from the proper place, then seeing through the
sculpture in places that detract from the silhouette of the bike.

The "Beethon" sculpture in Bonn, Germany, might interest you.  Search
Google images with    beethon   and you will get immediately 30 images
of this interesting work.  The most informative sites are in German,
but here is one with a English text:

Here is a neat site.  When you click on "start" under the photo, the image changes.

If you have questions about the German text on a site, I can help you.
Subject: Re: examples of anamorphic art with multiple viewpoints
From: myoarin-ga on 26 Jul 2006 06:56 PDT
Hi  alxtrzch-ga,  
I don't know if you will ever come back here, since the notification
system is down, but I found another painting on this site:

Scroll down to the "anonymous portrait of Edvard VI" and click on it.

See also the bibiliography at the end of the site.

Cheers, Myoarin

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