AskDefine | Define anamorphosis

Dictionary Definition

anamorphosis

Noun

1 the evolution of one type of organism from another by a long series of gradual changes [syn: anamorphism]
2 a distorted projection or perspective; especially an image distorted in such a way that it becomes visible only when viewed in a special manner [syn: anamorphism] [also: anamorphoses (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A distorted image of an object that may be viewed correctly from a specific angle or with a specific mirror
  2. a form of limited metamorphosis in some arthropods
  3. an abnormal form of some lichens or fungi that gives the appearance of a different species

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. "Ana - morphosis" comes from the Greek words meaning "formed again." In other languages: αναμόρφωση (Greek), anamorphotisches Bild (German), anamorfosi (Italian), anamorfosis (Spanish), vertekend beeld (Dutch), anamorphose (French), anamorfoza (Polish), anamorfózis (Hungarian).

Types of projection

There are two main types of anamorphosis: Perspective (oblique) and Mirror (catoptric). Examples of perspectival anamorphosis date to the early Renaissance (15th Century), whereas examples of mirror anamorphosis (or catoptric anamorphosis) occurred at the time of the baroque (17th century).
With mirror anamorphosis, a conical or cylindrical mirror is placed on the drawing or painting to transform a flat distorted image into a three dimensional picture that can be viewed from many angles. The deformed image is painted on a plane surface surrounding the mirror. By looking uniquely into the mirror, the image appears undeformed. Current in the 1600s and 1700s, this process of anamorphosis made it possible to diffuse caricatures, erotic and scatologic scenes and scenes of sorcery for a confidential public.
These "anamorphoscopes" were invented in China and brought to Italy in the 16th century, about the time Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci were mastering 3-D and discovering slant anamorphosis.

History of anamorphosis

Leonardo's Eye (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1485) is the earliest known example of perspective anamorphosis. Hans Holbein the Younger is well known for incorporating this type of anamorphic trick. His painting The Ambassadors is the most famous example for anamorphosis, in which a distorted shape lies diagonally across the bottom of the frame. Viewing this from an acute angle transforms it into the plastic image of a skull. During the 17th century, Baroque trompe l'oeil murals often used this technique to combine actual architectural elements with an illusion. When standing in front of the art work in a specific spot, the architecture blends with the decorative painting. The dome and vault of the Church of St. Ignazio in Rome, painted by Andrea Pozzo, represented the pinnacle of illusion. Due to complaints of blocked light by neighbouring monks, Pozzo was commissioned to paint the ceiling to look like the inside of a dome, instead of actually constructing one. However, the ceiling is flat, and there is only one spot where the illusion is perfect and a dome looks real.
In 18th and in 19th century, anamorphic images had come to be used more as children's games than fine art. In the 20th century some artists wanted to renew the technique of anamorphosis. Important to mention Marcel Duchamp's interest in anamorphosis, some of his installations are paraphrases of anamorphoses (See The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even & The Large Glass). Salvador Dalí also utilized the effect in a number of his paintings. Jan Dibbets conceptual works, the so-called "perspective corrections" are examples of "linear" anamorphoses.

"Anamorphic" effects in the work of contemporary artists

Bibliography

  • Baltrusaitis, Jurgis: Anamorphoses ou Thaumaturgus opticus. Flammarion, Paris, 1984.
  • Cole, Alison: Perspective. Dorling Kindersley Limited, London, 1992.
  • Collins, Daniel L.: Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer. Leonardo, Berkeley, 1992.
  • Damisch, Hubert: L’Origine de la perspective. Flammarion, Paris, 1987.
  • Du Breuil, La Pere: La Perspective pratique. Paris, 1649.
  • Foister, Susan, Roz Ashok, Wyld Martin: Holbein’s Ambassadors. National Gallery Publications, London
  • Houle, Kelly: Portrait of Escher: Behind the Mirror. M.C. Escher's Legacy. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2003.
  • Kircher, Athanasius: Ars Magna lucis et umbrae in decem Libros digesta. Roma, 1646.
  • Lanners, Edi: Illusionen. VerlagC.J.Bucher GmbH, München und Luzern, 1973.
  • Leemann, Fred: Anamorphosen. DuMont Buchverlag, Köln, 1975.
  • Leemann, Fred: Hidden Images. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, NewYork, 1976.
  • Maignan, Emmanuel: Perspectiva horaria, sive de Horographia gnomonica…. Roma, 1648.
  • Mastai, M.L.d’Otrange: Illusion in Art. Abaris Books, New York, 1975.
  • Niceron, Jean-Francois: La Perspective curieuse ou magie artificelle des effets merveilleux. Paris, 1638.
  • Niceron, Jean-Francois: Thaumaturgus opticus, seu Admiranda optices per radium directum, catoptrices per radium reflectum. Paris, 1646.
  • North, John: The Ambassadors’ Secret. Hamblendon and London, London, 2002.
  • Orosz István: Artistic Expression of Mirror, Reflection and Perspective. Symmetry 2000. Portland Press, London, 2002.
  • Orosz István: The Mirrors of the Master. Escher Legacy. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2003.
  • Shickman, Allan: “Turning Pictures” in Shakespeare’s England. University of N. Iowa, Cedar Falls Ia. Art Bulletin LIX/1 Mar. 1977.
  • Sakane, Itsuo: A Museum of Fun (The Expanding Perceptual World) The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, 1979 (Part I.) 1984 (Part II.)
  • Schott, Gaspar: Magia universalis naturae et artis. Würzburg, 1657.
  • The Arcimboldo Effect. (exhibition catalogue - Palazzo Grassi, Velence) Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, Bompiani, Milano, 1987.
  • Stephen and Timothy Quay: De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (1991)(film)
anamorphosis in German: Anamorphose
anamorphosis in Spanish: Anamorfismo
anamorphosis in French: Anamorphose
anamorphosis in Indonesian: Anamorfisme
anamorphosis in Italian: Anamorfismo
anamorphosis in Japanese: アナモルフォーシス
anamorphosis in Hungarian: Anamorfózis
anamorphosis in Dutch: Anamorfose
anamorphosis in Norwegian: Anamorfose
anamorphosis in Polish: Anamorfoza
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