10 Mind-Blowing Illusion Paintings That Make You Look Twice

In life and in art, perception is reality. Things aren’t always what they seem to be… or are they? Over the years, artists have tried to used the power of illusions with mind-blowing paintings to challenge the human mind. Their works often leave us in awe, as we are left to ponder on the details of creating such strong and enlightening images.

Some images have a distinct mental twist to them, while others are only for entertainment. No matter what, there is no denying the artistic creativity of a mind-blowing painting that makes you look twice.

Here are ten mind-bending works of art from artists spanning several generations that will cause you to question reality. These artists use architectural precision and creative license to show you a world of impossible realities. Enjoy the Surrealism, Magical Realism and Optical  Illusions created by artists ranging from Oleg Shuplyak to M.C. Esher.

1. Tomek Sętowski

Tomek Sętowski is a Polish artist known throughout the globe for his distinctive and dream-like style called “Magical Realism”. His art is filled with whimsical fairy-tale characters and beautiful women set among glittering cities floating high in the sky or deep underwater – sometimes both.

2. Oleg Shuplyak

Oleg Shuplyak is a Ukrainian surrealist artist who has mastered the the art of optical illusion. He  places characters, objects and coloring strategically throughout his scenic oil paintings to create two layers of images. He is famous for his surrealist depictions of historical famous figures, including Van Gogh, Darwin and Shakespeare.

3. Robert Gonsalves

Canadian artist, Robert Gonsalves, uses his skill as an architect to perfect his art of illusion. Gonsalves uses precision and imagination to turn everyday scenes into magic through the style of Magic Realism.

4. M.C. Escher

One of the most famous artists of illusion was Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Escher (a.k.a. Maurits Cornelis Escher). Through the medium of woodcuts, mezzo-tints and lithographs, Escher applied his knowledge of mathematics, architecture and geometry to create impossible and seemingly infinite constructions.

5. Jos de Mey

Look closely at this painting by Flemish-Belgian artist, Jos de Mey. The wall is seemingly parallel to the viewer while the columns are definitely not. For the majority, he used acrylic paintings to create his artwork and primarily featured depictions of impossible objects in a photo-realistic style. He is also well known for borrowing characters from other artists such as Magritte, M.C. Escher, or in the image above, Bruegel.

6. Julian Beever

Contemporary artist Julian Beever uses the medium of chalk on public sidewalks to create one-of-a-kind, mind-bending illusions.

7. Salvador Dali

Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali, was one of the most prominent artists in his field. His grandiose and eccentric behavior could only be outdone by his wild and imaginative art.

8. Michael Parkes

Michael Parkes’ brings to life breathtaking and romanticized dreamscapes. This American artist now resides in Spain where he works with painting, stone lithography and sculpture to create amazing Fantasy Art and Magic Realism.

9. Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian artist from the 1500’s. He was a master at tricking the eye reimagining everyday objects such as fruit, vegetables, flowers, books and even fish to create the illusion of faces. Arcimboldo arranged the produce with precision that the painting still gave a very recognizable likeness to the actual subject of the painting.

10. Vladimir Kush

Russian born artist, Vladimir Kush refers to his work as “Metaphorical Realism” as his oil paintings merges images to create fantastic, colorful imagery. Kush now lives in America. His art is on display in galleries throughout the U.S. He prominently creates seascapes and water images, though he also in known to blend images of animals and inanimate objects.

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