/an'euh mawr"feuh sis, -mawr foh"sis/, n., pl. anamorphoses /-seez', -seez/.
1. a drawing presenting a distorted image that appears in natural form under certain conditions, as when viewed at a raking angle or reflected from a curved mirror.
2. the method of producing such a drawing.
3. Zool., Entomol. the gradual change in form from one type to another during the evolution of a group of organisms.
4. (in certain arthropods) metamorphosis in which body parts or segments are added to those already present.
[1720-30; < Gk, equiv. to anamorpho- (var. s. of anamorphoûn to transform; see ANA-, MORPHO-) + -sis -SIS]

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Drawing or painting technique that gives a distorted image of the subject when seen from the usual viewpoint, but when viewed from a particular angle or reflected in a curved mirror shows it in true proportion.

Its purpose is to amuse or mystify. It was a curious by-product of the discovery of perspective in the 14th–15th century and was regarded as a display of technical virtuosity. The first examples appear in Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks.

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 in the visual arts, an ingenious perspective technique used to give a distorted image of the subject represented in a picture when seen from the usual viewpoint, but so executed that if viewed from a particular angle, or reflected in a curved mirror, the distortion disappears and the image in the picture appears normal. Derived from the Greek word meaning “to transform,” the term anamorphosis was first employed in the 17th century, although this technique had been one of the more curious by-products of the discovery of perspective in the 14th and 15th centuries.

      The first examples appear in Leonardo da Vinci's (Leonardo da Vinci) notebooks. It was regarded as a display of technical virtuosity, and it was included in most 16th- and 17th-century drawing manuals. Two important examples of anamorphosis are a portrait of the young Edward VI (1546; National Portrait Gallery, London) that has been attributed to Cornelis Anthonisz, and a skull in the foreground of Hans Holbein the Younger's painting “Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve” (“The Ambassadors,” 1533; National Gallery, London). Many examples are provided with special peepholes through which the viewer can obtain the rectified view that first eluded him.

      A modern equivalent of anamorphosis is the so-called Ames Room, in which the appearance of people and objects is distorted by manipulation of the contours of the room in which they are seen. This and other aspects of anamorphosis have received a good deal of attention in the 20th century from psychologists interested in perception.

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Universalium. 2010.

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