“The Ambassadors” is a painting from 1533 made by Hans Holbein the Younger that features an anamorphic skull illusion. In this brief video we see how the illusion works and how with the unaided eye it is only properly visible from one angle.
Skulls depicted in paintings of the time were added as a ‘memento mori’ meaning a reminder to not forget that we all will perish one day.
The two men who figure in the painting are, on the left, Jean de Dinteville, French ambassador to the court of King Henry VIII at the time of the painting, and on the right, Georges de Selve, Bishop of Lavaur.
“The Ambassadors” is on display at the National Museum in London. There is no charge for entry into the National Museum so anyone in London can go visit and see this incredible painting.