History of Anamorphic Art
Anamorphic art is a term most people (and most artists) are unfamiliar with. The word anamorphic is from the Greek ana (again) and morphe (form) referring to realistic art so monstrously distorted by a projective transformation it is difficult to recognize. The distortion can be "formed again" by viewing it as a reflection in a polished cylinder mirror, referred to as an anamorphoscope. The appearance of the undistorted mirror reflection is so magical and surprising few people seeing it for the first time fail to exclaim in wonder.
In the early Renaissance period, European artists began to master perspective, becoming fascinated by the simplest kind of anamorphic art: stretched pictures seen accurately when viewed at a sharp angle. The first known examples are in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks; he was one of the earliest contributors to this geometry of perspective.
"Rembrandt’s Self Portrait 1640" by Eric L. Conklin is a revival of the Anamorphic Cylinder style of painting. This oil has been painted on panel; the mirror is custom made from a brass cylinder, highly polished and nickel plated.
There are several ways to approach the construction of an anamorphic painting. The one I chose was to look into the cylinder while painting the surface directly in front of it. The tricky part: when I was painting, the image I was looking at was inverted and backward, so it took several minutes to get my brain to compensate for the actions of my hand. I could see what I was doing right side up, but my hand had to paint the picture upside down.
For this anamorphoscope I chose "Rembrandt’s Self Portrait (1640)" found in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in London, UK. Rembrandt is one of the artists I most admire and respect.
I hope that you enjoy this Cylindrical Anamorphoscope as much as I did painting it.