Visual illusions in art became widespread in ancient times, apparently the very concept of optical, psychological, emotional illusions is very close to creativity. 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 movement quite late - in the 50s of the last century, but it did not arise from scratch, many paintings of the past confirm that artists have always used visual illusions in their work.
Artists use illusory techniques, deliberately creating unimaginable and "nonexistent" in real life effects of elements hovering in the air, visual movement, or merging of lines. They introduce sharp contrasting tones, twisting and discontinuous lines, spiral images, and lattice configurations into their paintings, which creates the illusion of air, fluidity, changing under different lighting conditions for the audience. Using common graphic techniques, you can create the illusion of movement on the art canvas.
The readiness of the viewer to “see” the image to which he is tuned is of great importance for creating a visual illusion. So, for example, in the picture a geometric ornamental pattern "comes to life" in the perception of the audience. Moreover, the more complex the ornament, the more spatial and "alive" it looks for the viewer. The most interesting effect of illusionary perception is that each person sees the same image differently.
One of the directions of visual experiments is the study of a class of images with coincidences 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, on a multi-colored and figured one - surprisingly, it gets lost. Probably, almost everyone knows that it is necessary to examine a picture painted with strokes from a distance, and the larger it is, the clearer the image itself will appear.
Optical art destroys the stereotypes of seeing the image, since illusions give the audience the impression of movement, spatial fluctuation, overflow of objects and bends that do not exist in reality. The viewer, being firmly convinced that there is a flat still image in front of him, begins to "see" how it moves in space.
The creation of this direction 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 line stereography, live graphics, light-stereography, - stereo - blicotectonics, which can be analogous to holography.
Light stereography is a graphic composition consisting of circular dashed lines, which are a raster field, on which, under a certain type of illumination (using a point light source), an integral image of a stereo cube appears.
Optical art itself uses optical (visual) illusions, the origin of which is based on the peculiarities of human perception of flat and spatial forms. The first attempts to create paintings in the op-art style appeared at the end of the 19th century. In 1889, the German professor Thompson presented his article on optical illusions in the yearbook "Das neue Universum", illustrating it with black and white concentric circles, which gave the audience the illusion of movement on a plane.
Thompson's drawings depict 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 an exhibition in New York, which was called very accurately - "Sensitive Eye").
The followers of op-art used optical illusions in their work, based on the peculiarities of the human eye's perception of flat and spatial figures, as well as the individual capabilities of a person, to subconsciously create illusions. Optical art is the art of creating visual illusions based on a personal visual illusion, in other words, an illusory image does not exist in the picture, but in the eyes and mind of the viewer.
For example, looking at alternating black and white concentric circles, a person creates in his mind the illusion that rays appear out of nowhere, crossing them, and rotating like a propeller. In the drawing of a cube, on which its edges are highlighted, a 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 strokes, then the illusion of a broken line appears. The overlapping of two geometric elements creates, for example, a wave effect.
Thanks to optical illusions, psychologists were able to discover certain patterns of visual perception. When human consciousness perceives real objects, illusions practically do not arise, therefore, to reveal the hidden mechanisms of perception, it is necessary to create unusual conditions for the human eye, that is, to force the eye to "solve" non-standard tasks.
Gradually, artists began to use these features of the "strange" and incorrect perception by the human eye of various combinations of images on canvas in their works. For example, in the painting "Stream" (Bridget Riley, 1964), the entire surface is covered with thin wavy lines, which become steeper towards the middle of the image, which creates the illusion of a unsteady current that separates from the plane. In the work "Cataract-III" the artist manages to create the effect of moving waves.
The main task of op-art is a deliberate deception of the eye, the creation of a provocation, in which a false reaction occurs, causing a "non-existent" image. A contradictory visual image creates an artificial conflict between the real form and the visible form, in other words, optical art deliberately forms opposition to the norms of perception. Psychologists were able to prove that the eye tries to create a simple system (or gestalt) out of chaotically scattered spots and strokes.
In works of art, five types of illusion are most common. Images in which an illusory, completely correct perspective turns out to be impossible in reality (impossible figures also belong to this type of illusion, for example, the famous Penrose triangle).
The second type of illusory images are dual pictures, that is, images that contain elements that are invisible at first glance. Of great interest are the so-called upside-down paintings, which are images that, when viewed from different angles, change their meaning (content).
Anamorphoses are generally a separate representative of optical art; images in paintings should be viewed only from a certain angle, at a specific distance, or with the help of a specially made mirror, called an anamorphoscope. Deceptions are images that are the most real and, at the same time, the most deceptive kind of illusion, the objects depicted on them claim to be reality.
Artists have always been tempted by the opportunity to depict simultaneously different properties of one and the same phenomenon or object, element. Embodying legends and myths in their artistic paintings, they painted some animals (elephants, camels) in the intertwined figures of people, other animals and birds.
The so-called two-faced paintings appeared in Europe in the 15th century, and were originally satirical, caricatured in nature, on the canvases all images were masked in order to avoid punishment. A kind of illusory images were disappearing images and ghostly images, which could only be viewed from the right angle.
A special technique of optical paintings with a double (triple or more) image, or rather with hidden drawings, is the use of the contours of the depicted objects by artists. Medieval France is conventionally considered the ancestor of hidden silhouettes.
Today, contemporary artists have significantly increased both the subject matter of their work and the techniques of hidden images. In the flowers you can unexpectedly find a child's face, the beard of the forest god hides the Leshy himself, the bird turns into a lovely female head - these are all metamorphoses of illusion. What is most mysterious in such images is that not every person can see the hidden essence of the picture.
The most famous hidden canvas is Salvador Dali's The Vanishing Image, which depicts his portrait and the figure of his wife. If you look at the picture from a distance, then Dali's face is visible in profile, and as you get closer to the picture, the figure of a woman who is reading a letter appears more and more clearly.
The famous painting by Mexican artist Octavio Ocampo depicts Don Quixote, so at first all viewers are surprised by its name - "Don Quixote and Sancho Panza". In reality, the picture depicts precisely these famous characters traveling nearby, but in order to see this, it is necessary to come very close to the canvas, and if you look at this picture from afar, then two inseparable friends merge into a portrait of Don Quixote.