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Illusion Art – Magic Results with Deception

Uma Daga | October 29, 2021

Presenting a triumph of art forms over reality, illusory art  points to ‘illogic’ shapes, figures and designs that end up masquerading as ‘logic’.

Illusion Art – Magic Results with Deception

Colour steeped or greyscale works of illusory art boast of a curious fascination. Presenting a triumph of art forms over reality, they point to ‘illogic’ shapes, figures and designs that end up masquerading as ‘logic’.

Sounds intriguing, right?

Have you ever wondered why illusions capture your interest? Why do artists use their colour palettes and brushes and go through the trouble of creating illusions? Well, mountain climbers often end up scaling the white snowy trenches of high mountains with lush green meadows beyond, just ‘because they happen to be there.’

In all probability, we seek illusions just because they are not there.

Artistic representation set to deceive

Have a look at this stunning lithographic creation ‘Waterfall’ by Maurits C. Escher (1961).

Notice how he drives the high placed water wheels so that it seems that his waterfall re-cycles the water. This is created the perpetual motion machine which is designed to generate and deliver optimum power!

But then, you are deceived.

Look closely – you will understand that the illusion created by Mr. Escher is an artistic representation of a deception. In reality any attempts to build such a structure with masonry bricks is surely bound to fail!

Illusions caused by form and depth 

Another way of creating illusions is to give due attention to the colour temperature subtleties prevalent in your paintings. By doing so once can create a big difference in the spatial illusions of form and depth.


In the figures above, the blocks A and B are of the same colour. Don’t believe it? Look closely.

This happens because of the colour constancy. It helps your brain recognize and relate to objects in an illusionary manner and is not dependent on the amount of light being reflected. Here, B sits under the shadow of the green cylinder, making you assume that it is light grey in colour instead of being darker in shade.

The Bezold effect

Want more fun? Take a quick look at the picture below and figure out the different shades of red. Contrary to what you would like to believe, there is just a singular tone of red, though the one on the right appears to be darker. The effect cast on your eyes is referred to as the ‘Bezold Effect’.

Wilhelm von Bezold had discovered that colours appear darker or lighter in relation to their context and can prove to be pretty deceiving. Till date, our scientists are still baffled by this illusion art. While some attribute the effect to lateral inhibition, many others choose to disagree.

Three D imagery 

In most cases, artists end up using their colour palettes to convey a striking illusion of three-dimensional real forms in their two-dimensional drawings. They depict real, solid designs to titillate your world of sensory experiences. These methods are also being used for creating pictures of smart spatial relationships, which are impossible in our three-dimensional world (the real one).

These stunning colour effects can be replicated on the walls of your home with paints. The many shades and hues presented by leading paint manufacturers boast of anti-fading pigments that can be used to create mystical effects and promise to serve as a lifetime treat for your walls.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to explore!

Uma Daga

Uma is a nature lover by birth, life enthusiast by choice, and a content strategist and writer by profession. As a freelance content developer and editor, Uma has worked with several international and domestic clients like the United States Embassy, Infoanalytica, Ezdia, Enventure, and the Aditya Birla Group, among many others.


Uma loves travelling, making friends, reading, housekeeping and learning new skills. She lives in Jalpaiguri – far from the maddening crowds – in the lap of nature and says, “You have to meet and spend time with me to understand why I am the way I am!”


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