Skull Ambasadors

Hans Holbein the Younger was a German artist who painted in a Northern Renaissance style, and was best known for his numerous portraits. The one you see below is titled “Ambassadors”, and was already posted on Mighty Optical Illusions. You can check my older post. I got many questions from you, my loyal visitors to explain with more details how the skull should be seen. As I already explained in my previous post, it is anamorphic image, and should be watched from an angle. Strange object at the bottom of the picture (skull)can be seen if look at it almost from the edge of the canvas. Then it becomes apparent. I think it’s best to show you in step by step pictures. Open the article for tutorial. If you like anamorphosis, check: Walt Disney, cylinder mirrors, strange anamorphosis, tea cups, Jules Verne… and few more in M.C. Escher category.

17 Replies to “Skull Ambasadors”

  1. It worked for me when I turned my laptop screen for almost 90 degrees left. If you have regular monitor/LCD do the same, or move yourself :)

  2. 1. Liberate: Dude, it so is.

    2. I’ve seen this before. i knew this from primary school, and then i saw it in a documentary about the da vinci code, where the ‘secret’ codes in the last supper were probably easily recognised back in the day (like, say, hiding david beckham in the back of a portrait of your dad). this was shown as an example, as the fact that theres the skull, theres a broken string on the guitar/ukelele/whatever, and that hidden in the top right corner, behind the curtain, theres a crucifix. This doesn’t somehow show the painter was the head of a secret organization and that the ambassador is a descendant of jesus

    also we talked about it in high school a few weeks ago, after it being mentioned in a book we were reading

  3. Hmm, To me its too obvious, I could easily see it was a skull immediately.
    I didnt have to look sideways, did anyone else get that?

  4. I think this painting was originally designed to be hung on a stair-case. Anyone walking up the stairs would not have a good view of the painting itself, but would see a foreshortened version of the anamorphic part. So, as they climbed the stairs on a dark night, maybe carrying a candle, they would suddenly see the skull!

  5. it kinda worked for me but i’m using an old monitor. i bet it would work better if it was in real life. but thats kinda cool.

  6. BUT you have to understand that this is a painting and the artists had no neighbors with a pc or even dialup,electricity was even a big ask.

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