Anamorphic Portrait Optical Illusion


Suzanne Daly contacted me with an impressive collection of anamorphic drawings. Most of them we already had showcased on this site, but there were few interesting ones I’ve never encountered before. One of them I’ll feature today. Can you help me by recognizing the portrait reflecting on the metal cylinder? The interesting thing about such hidden portraits, if the author is professional enough, you can’t distinguish them just by looking at the original canvas. Only after placing the reflective object (metal cylinder in this case) at the proper spot, the hidden image occurs. Back in the old days this was very popular method to include forbidden motives, that normally wouldn’t be accepted. Expect more similar examples in days to come… off course, if you approve these as regular optical illusions.

  • Annabelle Lee

    The portrait is E. A. Poe, author of “The Raven”. But how is this even possible? I don’t understand.

  • WOW…best trick ever!

  • Craig

    Correct, it is Edger Allen Poe, major clue is the Raven in the drawing.
    Rick Wakeman (of YES band) had a record cover and label on the vinyl disc that when on the record player, the silver spindle would reflect his image in proper proportions.

  • Cheryl

    Yes, it is Edgar Alan Poe. But I agree with Annabelle Lee…How is this possible? How is this done? Amazing??

    • Ben

      The major clue is the cylinder. The objects around it get compressed because of the roundness of the cylinder, therefore becoming E.A. Poe.

  • Denise

    Turning the Raven into Edgar Allen Poe is awesome!! Love this one so much. (He’s a favorite author of mine.)

  • Jimmy Slater

    Nice drawing, but it’s not a true anamorphic.

  • Care Bear

    These are so fascinating. I feel like Alice in Through the Looking Glass where nothing is what it seems to be but if you look at it in a certain way it all comes clear.

  • Edgar Allen Poe and the “Raven” is amazing! How in the world is it done? Someone have an answer? I think it’s really great and mind boggeling. Yes indeed, yes indeed

  • Tinker


  • Edgar Allen Poe, haunted by his Raven. Not nevermore, but forevermore…

  • Mike G

    Poe was a literary genius, but unfortuantely his muse usually resided in a bottle of absinth or an opium pipe. The picture here is not only an interesting illusion, but seems to reflect what may have been going on in that troubled mind.

  • Tony

    I’m not sure I’m seeing it?? Can somebody help me?

  • This one’s pretty freaking awesome! I love Poe!

  • Kris

    The artist is Hungarian born Istvan Orosz…

  • Kris

    The artist is Hungarian born Istvan Orosz.

  • Jim

    Awesome. Can’t believe the time it took the artist to draw the distorted table image to actually look like Poe in the reflection. Its the reverse carnival mirror concept, if you acually looked like an odd shape, you’d look normal in the mirror. Stare long enough at the table, you can start seeing the elongated Poe face stretched across half the table. Amazing, anxious to see more!

  • annabelle, look at this gallery and it might be easier for you to see what’s going on:

  • mrboma

    @Annabelle Lee: First of all, very nice to use a Poe title as your monicker for this response.

    The way this works is that the rounded surface of the cylinder essentially condenses and un-curves the image from the table top. It is kind of the reverse of how a map gets distorted when projected from a globe onto a flat surface. Just as Greenland looks way bigger than it really is on the flat map, Poe’s face is totally stretched out on the flat surface (and in this case, it is made of implements and instruments, too).

  • Mii

    awsome. and how do you know its edgar allen poe?? it could be anyone

  • Chris

    i have always found it interesting and hard as to making those. but it seems impossible to even start to do one.

  • Tom

    @Annabelle Lee … you ever stand in front of one of those crazy funhouse mirrors? … your reflection looks weird because the mirror takes a normal image and distorts it to look weird … this is the opposite … the cylinder mirror is taking an already weird image and “distorting” it to look normal

  • Definitely Poe. Note the book is opened to a section on ravens. :)

    Very nice.

  • No one,


  • Loza

    I think the tight curve of the metal cylinder somehow condenses the objects in front of it in its reflection . . . which produces the portrait illusion.
    More please! These illusions are great!

  • ahdaunti

    Some of the more ancient among you may remember the 1970’s as the heyday of LP album cover art. In 1976 Rick Wakeman released “No Earthly Connection” the cover of which had a similar concept. It came with a silver sheet of mylar that was to be rolled into a reflective cylinder and then placed in the center of the album cover. See it here:

  • Jessica

    This is really cool- you can even kind of see where his eyes and nose are on the drawing. Can’t imagine how you create this

  • Goofy Goober

    Very nice illusion, like how its a raven (signalling his book) on the table, and then it shows him on the cylinder (because he is the author)

    Cool illusion.

  • beckshino

    its not realy a trick… its a tube… that or its shopped.
    theres no way thats possible, nothing in the birds eye view accounts for the portrait, nor is there any reason the man lying down would be obscured…

  • beckshino

    vurdlak, or vudlark i cant remember… delete my comment i didnt realize you explained it… i should read first…

  • beckshino

    wah! thats flippin amazing who did that… looks esher style but not as good…

  • Nate

    Is the metal cylinder part of the picture? I’m not quite sure I understand this…

  • Xheia

    I like how the artist drew the background, not just the mirror illusion.
    The artist is tired after looking up the classic question – What’s the difference between a raven and a crow?
    I also noticed the “bust of Pallas” on the floor.
    The mirror looks a bit fake, though, and the raven on Poe’s chest looks strange.

  • silvio

    The album for the soundtrack of the movie Lisztomania contained an insert with an image like this. It came with a reflective sheet that you would make into a cylinder.

  • Jess

    wow thats amazing!

  • Rob Ankrom

    Really “Vurdlak”? You are allegedly a fan of optical illusions, and didn’t look closely at both images? The artist is studying how to draw RAVENS, and the wonderful thing about it is some of the artist tools are laid out in such a way as to make the face of Edgar Alan Poe when reflected in the mirror.

  • thomas

    I don’t get it??? so there’s a picture on the metal cylinder. I don’t get the illusion here?

  • Jilly

    These are great…… is such a big skill to do this………:)

  • A

    Seems like a drawing of an optical illusion… Would definitely be impressive it was a photo…

  • Refugee

    Yes, defenitely Edgar Allen Poe , not only the author of ‘The Raven’ but many more poems and stories of ‘The Bloodchilling Kind’

    I noticed that the image on the cylinder is made up bij the ‘tools of the trade’ of the writer

  • Very impressive!
    Edgar Allen Poe is a genius, with no doubt.
    It is simply one of the most impressive drawings i have seen until now!

  • Merrick

    I used to have a little paperback book about the size of a magazine that had these type of pictures in it. It also came with the “mirror” which was a heavy, reflective paper of some kind that you rolled up and taped. There were probably a couple dozen of these pictures, some portraits, but others were just landscapes or still life. It was pretty neat though and you might still be able to find them.

  • Wow, this one is just amazing. I love how the artist managed to make the whole picture fit even when your not looking at the reflective cup, and how he/she even incorporated the cup into the picture!


  • galloots


  • Leigh Heagney

    I see a beautifully drawn picture and the image of poe and I get the concept of the reflected image but I dont see it as an illusion feel like I am missing something

  • Janelle McDermott

    thomas, there isn’t a picture on the tube, this is a reflection of what is on the table

  • iriso

    I fail to see an illusion here. It looks like a drawing, made to look like an illusion.

  • These are so fascinating thanks for sharing.

  • hi everybody

  • iriso

    the tube look to be part OF the drawing.. the texture of the tube looks like that of the paper and the rest of the art piece. Someone explain to me, how the tube looks metal, and seperate piece. I think its all one big drawing to mimick aan illusion.

  • ah-chan

    that is soooo edgar alan poe

  • Peter Lewis

    This is portrait of Albert Queen Victoris’s Husband

  • Ty Horn

    no no thats edgar allen poe who did that poem “the raven” that explaines the shadow like bird.

  • toby

    ty is right, it is poe

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