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15 Portraits by Oleg Shuplyak, the Master of Optical Illusions

There is always an element of detective work in decoding optical illusions, and people usually either hate it, or they absolutely love it.

Ukrainian artist Oleg Shuplyak based his entire artistic style on the premise of optical illusions, carefully constructing each portrait in a way that would reflect the portrayed figure’s essence and character, something that would be hardly possible in an ordinary portrait. So, whether or not you like decoding optical illusions, these 15 paintings will make perfect sense to you because they reflect the life and work of the famous people they were dedicated to.

As Isaac Newton is discovering the rules of physics in the mythical apple garden, the apple tree branches frame out his face. A sunny landscape view on the French Riviera are the backdrop for Claude Mone’s portrait, and an enormous marlin hovers over an old man in a boat, thereby creating Ernest Hemingway’s face. Just scroll down to see and read about each portrait. And if you want to see even more of his masterpieces, follow the link Optical Illusions by Oleg Shuplyak.

1. Newton In The Garden Of Ideas

The legend goes that Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity sitting in an apple orchard, as an apple fell on his head from one of the trees. And though we know that this didn't actually happen, it is a popular story that is associated with the famous physicist.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Newton In The Garden Of Ideas

2. Leonardo Da Vinci "Mona Lisa"

The Mona Lisa is, possibly, the most famous painting in the world, and this re-imagined version of the masterpiece is all about the landscape one can see in the original. It is very interesting how Oleg managed to retain the identity of the painting while (almost) omitting the woman portrayed.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Leonardo Da Vinci "Mona Lisa"

3. Loving Vincent

Isn't it mesmerizing how precisely the author simulated the original style of Vincent van Gogh? The Starry Night forms the face of the painter, and the small city of Arles, where the painter used to live and create, completes his face.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Loving Vincent

4. Claude Monet "A Windy Day"

Once again, it is interesting how the artist's style transforms into one that is very reminiscent of Claude Monet. You can see Monet's version of the painting titled Woman with a Parasol hereThe color scheme and the brushstrokes are very similar, and the 2 women dressed in white blend together with the white clouds to reveal the painter's portrait.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak

5. Ivan Aivazovsky

Aivazovsky was a Russian painter, most known for his varied and very dynamic depiction of the sea. We wrote an article about his art, which you can read by clicking here. What better way of portraying a seascape artist than by having a sailing ship and the sea blend into his own face?
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Ivan Aivazovsky

6. Leonardo Da Vinci "Mona Lisa"

This mysterious landscape is a double illusion: not only does it contain 2 portraits of Leonardo da Vinci himself, but we can also see a mysterious figure (possibly la Gioconda herself) pointing at Mona Lisa's face.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Mona Lisa

7. Ernest Hemingway "View Over Kilimanjaro"

The landscape of the African savannah with Mt.Kilimanjaro hovering over it are a reference to Hemingway's short story titled The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Hemingway was inspired to write the story after he visited Africa, and he likely stayed in a tent very similar to those Oleg Shuplyak painted in the background.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Hemingway

8. Impression Of Claude Monet

This particular painting portrays Monet as a much younger man, but, interestingly, the artist used a style that was more common for later works by Monet, that have harsher brushstrokes and look more abstract than his early paintings.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Impression Of Claude Monet

9. Auguste Renoir "Ashamed"

Like Monet, Renoir is also one of the most famous impressionist painters. You can learn more about him and his painting by following the link Breathtaking Renoir Paintings. We will only point out that his paintings were more often than not depictions of people spending their spare time in parks, much like the way Shuplyak chose to portray him.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak

10. Paul Cézanne

Famous for his paintings of women bathing, among all, Paul Cezanne transformed the way people understood art. In his eyes, we can see the determination and decisiveness of a true leader.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak cezanne

11. Venice

This particular painting is an exception, as, instead of portraying a person, it intends to give a face to a whole city. If Venice was a person, and not a city, it would probably be a beautiful and mysterious woman in a mask.

optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Venice

12. Galileo Galilei

The man gazing at the stars and constellations in no other but Galileo Galilei, one of the key figures in science, period. Often referred to as the father of the scientific method and the founder of physics, one the most famous "features" of this scientist is that he was the first person we know to study the sky with the help of a telescope.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Galileo Galilei

13. Sigmund Freud

The father of psychology, Sigmund Freud, is particularly famous for claiming that sexual desires of humans are the driving force of humanity and individual humans. Would he ever imagine or condone that his own portraits feature nude models? Who knows, but his persona clearly fits the picture. 
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Sigmund Freud

14. Vincent Van Gogh "Langlois Bridge At Arles"

Here is a slightly different take on Van Gogh and his earlier artistic style, in particular. Did you know that Vincent van Gogh loved to paint self-portraints? We know of at least 30 self-portraits that he painted only between the years of 1886 and 1889.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Vincent Van Gogh "Langlois Bridge At Arles"

15. Ernest Hemingway "The Old Man And Big Fish"

The last painting in this collection is another Hemingway portrait. Unlike the previous one, this painting is executed in a more minimalist style and in cool tones. Certainly, it is an allusion to Hemingway's masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea, a story that needs no introduction. The marlin rushes out of the water, trying to free itself. The waves it creates turn into Hemingway's beard, while the old man and the boat turn into the famous writer's nose and lips. Very clever.
optical illusions Oleg Shuplyak Ernest Hemingway "The Old Man And Big Fish"
H/T and Image Source: boredpanda 
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