The Master of Numbers

Presenting “The Master of Numbers,” my acclaimed artwork. This photomosaic portrait, assembled from 288 random number-themed photos, creates a captivating optical illusion, revealing the image of a great physicist from a distance.

Currently showcased in numerous Museum of Illusions globally, posters and prints of this optical art can be found on my online store.

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Globes within Spirals? (Optical Art Tutorial)

© Gianni A. Sarcone –

Are you seeing spirals? Look again, they’re actually concentric circles! This unique variation of the “Fraser spiral” plays tricks on your eyes by blending a regular line pattern (representing the circle’s circumference) with misaligned elements (the spheres with varying brightness).

Would you like to learn how to create this mesmerizing illusion? Follow my simple visual tutorial. If you have any ideas to further enhance this project, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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Do our eyes truly act as the gateway to the world, as poets suggest? Not quite. We see the world through tiny pupils that act as spy holes. Our brain is like a creative ‘camera obscura‘, constantly comparing differences between images received by each eye and individual elements within each image. This makes our eyes highly sensitive to contrasts in brightness, sharpness, and depth. Sometimes, our brain tries to correct what we see.

Try this experiment: Look at the blurry face below next to the sharp one for 20-30 seconds (staring at the fixation star between them), then quickly shift your gaze to the same scene further below. You’ll notice that the previously clear face now appears blurry while the previously blurry face appears clearer. This illusion, called contrast adaptation or contrast gain control, occurs because prolonged exposure to blurry images affects our visual acuity and sensitivity to contrast.

blurred faces and contrast adaptation
© Gianni A. Sarcone

Enlightening Exhibition

Per celebrare la luce è stato realizzato un percorso espositivo nell’Università di Firenze dedicato alle illusioni ottiche. La mostra, curata da un comitato scientifico, ospita anche molte delle mie opere.

To celebrate light, an exhibition’s itinerary was created at the University of Florence to explore the world of optical illusions. The exhibition, curated by a scientific committee, also hosts many works of mine.

Maggiori informazioni / More information

Illusive Color Mixing

When your brain lies… There is NO yellow, nor red, nor green in the picture below! The only real colors are blue, cyan and magenta. Scientists and artists call these color induction effects “simultaneous color contrast” and “color assimilation”.

Concept taken from my book “Drawing Optical Illusions” (2010).
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Subliminal Faces

This series of works questions the many cognitive aspects of faces’ recognition. People often see hidden faces in things, clouds, landscapes, or in architectural structures… Finding the latent or virtual image hidden in the manifest image is a mental process related to the concept of the “lost object” used in psychoanalysis. As an artist, I enjoy including subliminal messages or figures in my work. My paintings, photographs and collages play on the foreground and background relationship of our visual perception and represent common or iconic faces the viewer has to rediscover.

The Master of Numbers
Collage – mixed media, 2006

Photomosaic portrait of Albert Einstein made with random photographs of numbers.
It is only when the viewer moves away from the image that the portrait of Einstein appears. It is the distance that creates and unveils the truth, because everything is relative as Einstein once said and everything depends on the context, the environment or the point of view.

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This ghostly face appears to mysteriously change its features when you look at it for a while (Some viewers have even reported experiencing traumatic visions!). But that’s not all – if you unfocus your eyes and look steadily through the image, you’ll notice that after about 10-15 seconds, the face gradually disappears…

Ghost Faces / Apparition – Mixed media (2011)

This spooky portrait is created by merging together 50 common human faces. The process of averaging multiple exposures of human faces isn’t really new. In fact, as early as 1879, Sir Frances Galton experimented with this photographic technique, and others have since followed suit, using it for artistic or social purposes. Artists like Ken Kitano, Jason Salavon, Donald Scott Bray have all borrowed this technique for their own work.

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