Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Artist of the Week - Julian Beever

Anamorphic illusions are images that are drawn in a certain way so that when they are viewed from a special angle they appear three dimensional. This technique was used as far back as Renaissance times, but Julian Beever is well known for his sidewalk chalk drawings that utilize this method. You may have received an email that featured images of his work - I know he's cycled through my inbox more than once!

Let's look at one of his images in the "regular" view.....
Making Poverty History, Julian Beever

Here's how he has to draw it to get it look three dimensional....
Making Poverty History, Julian Beever

For my art history students, this oblique anamorphic technique is closely related to tromp l'oeil (which in French means "trick the eye") - actually, I think it is also tricking our brain!! You can only see the image as might expect to find it from one particular viewpoint. Remember Hans Holbein the Younger's work? It has an anamorphic skull in the lower section of the composition positioned between the Ambassadors. You see the distorted view as you look at the painting straight on:
The French Ambassadors, Hans Holbein the Younger, Oil on oak, 1533



SumnerIngram said...

The shadowing and overall detail of these chalk drawings is astounding. There is amazing depth in the first piece, making it near impossible not to be tricked even when concentrating. I find it interesting how the angle of the surface in which the piece is drawn helps in complementing the three dimensional illusion. At first I thought the first piece was a painting, until I read the text and was surprised at how such depth could be added using chalk on such a surface.

--Sumner Ingram

--Period 2

Chalk Drawings said...

I cant believe those drawings arent real they are awesome. Love your blog too.

Folk Paintings said...


Your blog having very nice picks on Arts

Taylor Hutchison said...

Hey - was just browsing and thought that I'd look at your blog... saw these and thought "I should show her some more!".

On this awesome site called you can see all these bizarre lists. One of them is sidewalk art.

This site also updates new lists every week. Check it out!

Here's the link for that specific list:



--Taylor Hutchison