Optical Illusion Art

what is illusion art?

Illusion art, although it seems like a modern art form, has its roots in older forms of artwork dating back to the Classical times of Greek art. Illusion art has since evolved over time with new techniques to form a 3D Illusion art genre.


The word “illusion” is derived from the Latin word ludere, which means “to play”. The word evolved into what we associate with it today, and that is to play or trick our senses with optical illusions.


Illusionism art is found in the fresco mural paintings in Greek homes in the forms of still lifes, scenes of people, and in paintings that appear part of the architectural structures.


Artists like Andrea Mantegna became famous for his realistic and therefore, illusionistic, paintings.  Examples include his painting, Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c.1470 - 1480)


If we jump ahead into the modern art period, we will find Illusionism art taking on new meanings like in Surrealism, which was prevalent during the early 1900s.


Illusion art has not always been favored by everyone and has received some critique over the years. An example is from the Minimalist artist and writer, Donald Judd.

famous illusion painting artists

Victor Vasarely  (1906 – 1997)

Bridget Riley  (1931 to Present)

continuing the illusion

Illusionism art has certainly evolved since the ancient times of Greek and Roman art.  In fact, Illusion art can be dated to before this period, from as early as ancient Egypt when people started depicting images on flat surfaces denoting the idea of space and three-dimensionality.