In an interview the other day I was asked if I think artists normally hide images in their paintings. I’m not sure about “normally,” but we have seen many works that exist with hidden images. Some are obvious and some not so obvious. Up until now we have been discussing Renaissance paintings that contain images that were not intended to be viewed so easily – “double images” in which one is obvious and the other seems to be hidden in plain site. So I wanted to show some works that we have already accepted as “double images.” Enjoy!


Is this painting above of a tribe or is it a face lying on its side? Or is it both?

Did artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo intend to paint a profile of a lady or a bunch of creatures from the sea? Or both? (By the way, this was created during the Renaissance.)

Here is another painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Did he paint another profile here or are these just a collection of animals?

Interestingly enough, is that a lion head, elephant head, horse head, mule head and a monkey in his Renaissance painting? Haven’t we have seen those animals in other Renaissance paintings?


Here is a logo that we are all familiar with. We’ve seen it many times, but how many of us know about the arrow that is hidden in the logo? (It’s the negative space between the “E” and “x.”) I use this FedEx example as a point that it is possible for something so obvious to stay hidden until pointed out.

And here is a portfolio piece that was created for a client by yours truly – me. Is that a face I see there or just an obvious collection of jewelry?

I guess the question I should have been asked is not whether I think artists would normally hide images in their paintings, but why would artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael want to paint images that were not so obvious to see?

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