What you “see” depends on what choices pareidolia (or the prince) offers to you.
Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: By th’ mass and ’tis: like a camel indeed.
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet: Or like a whale.
Polonius: Very like a whale.
– From Hamlet (1603) by William Shakespeare, Act III, Scene 2
I found these lines in the article See faces in the clouds? It might be a sign of your creativity by René Müri and Nicole Göbel.
※ Playing with Pareidolia
※ On Borrowing
※ Segment (mirror view) from an Illustration by Gustave Doré to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, 1863 edition.
※ Segment from The Temptation of St. Anthony (c. 1512-1516) by Matthias Grünewald (Mathis Gothardt Neithardt), a painting in one of the panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece.
Artists, who have played with their own pareidolia first, know how to play with the pareidolia of the beholders of their works.
I incidentally found this in December 2017 as bycatch from my Snark hunt:
※ [top left]: Illustration to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876) by Henry Holiday: The Vanishing (detail from lower left side depicting some weeds which seem to have some fun with each other)
※ [top right]: John Martin: The Bard (ca. 1817, detail from lower left side, retinex filtered and vectorized, then slightly horizontally compressed)
overview | Twitter
2018-02-17, updated: 2022-06-22
Retweeted by Musée Unterlinden (2017-12-27, 2022-06-20):
Another finding (bycatch from my Snark hunt):
2017-12-27, updated: 2022-06-20
Blurring images is low pass filtering images. An artist’s blunted sight can have the same effects like blurring with computerized image processing. Sometimes you need to get rid of distracting details in order to get the whole picture.
‘s what Salvador Dalí taught me about creative work
will help you to (perhaps) get the whole picture. However, keep in mind that artists like to play with what the beholders of their work might want (or might not want) to percieve. Even without blurring, artists can deny anything you “see” in an ambiguous creation: They play with their own pareidolia as well as with the pareidolia of their audience.
Before computerized image processing was available, artists use simple techniques to blur images. For example, looking at an image through a feather did the trick.
Blurring might help you to see things which you wouldn’t see with clear sight. It’s fine to try that with artwork which might have been intentionally created for such an exercise. But better make sure that it was an artist who created the face that is looking at you. I don’t know whether Mars ever has been inhabited by artists.
Rather than suffering from pareidolia, artists get inspired by it.
Sometimes blurring helps to reveal structures hidden in the hatching.
See also: Susana Martinez-Conde, Dave Conley, Hank Hine, Joan Kropf, Peter Tush, Andrea Ayala and Stephen L. Macknik: Marvels of illusion: illusion and perception in the art of Salvador Dali
2017-12-28, updated: 2022-02-02
The monsters already were there. But what did Gustave Doré see in the sky in Matthias Grünewald’s painting?
Look at walls splashed with a number of stains, or stones of various mixed colours. If you have to invent some scene, you can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills, in various ways. Also you can see various battles, and lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes and an infinite number of things, which you can reduce to good integrated form. This happens on such walls and varicoloured stones, (which act) like the sound of bells, in whose peeling you can find every name and word that you can imagine.
Do not despise my opinion, when I remind you that it should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas. The mind of the painter is stimulated to new discoveries, the composition of battles of animals and men, various compositions of landscapes and monstrous things, such as devils and similar things, which may bring you honor, because by indistinct things the mind is stimulated to new inventions.
Leonardo da Vinci
Reprinted from the Oxford edition of Selections from the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, edited by Irma A. Richter. The selections are from da Vinci’s A Treatise on Painting (Trattato della pittura).
(Thanks to Jono Borden for asking.)
2017-12-29, updated: 2022-03-10
Let’s move on. 2021 is waiting for us.
Bycatch from my Snark hunt:
The, well, ambiguity of that “shadow”is known. Also there were some Freudian assumptions regarding what the salt could stand for. But so far I didn’t find any remarks on the impossibility of having a shadow being covered by white salt which isn’t covered by that shadow. To someone who learned physics that is a quite obvious question.
2017-12-17, update: 2020-04-11
more | high resolution: 4400 × 6380
2017-12-17, update: 2019-03-10
In a BBC video, video journalist Adam Paylor gives us a good example for why things might be hidden in art: Besides assuming that people who see cryptomorphs in artwork might just be suffering from pareidolia, often one important reason for hiding things in art is neglected by art researchers: Hiding things in images can be fun!
Also from http://severnbeachantiques.com/famous-rare-1980-huntley-and-palmer-rude-garden-party-ginger-nuts-tin you can learn about a good reason for an artist to hide things in art:
I did them out of devilment, purely for a laugh. I’ve always been a bit of a naughty boy but I’ve nothing against Huntley & Palmers. There have been rumours that I got made redundant and did it out of revenge. But that’s not true – I was only ever a freelance. I just felt like adding a bit of smut to the proceedings.
That is what Mick Hill, the creator of the illustration of the Huntley & Palmers garden party ginger nuts tin, said about the hidden surprises in his artwork.
The issue comes up now and then.
Click on it if you don’t see the Instagram image.
The Beaver’s Lesson | The Bard
2017-09-16, updated: 2023-11-16