In art, the term “anamorphosis” indicates a strongly distorted image acquiring a “sense” only when placed in the correct point of view.
Two beautiful and amazing examples – though unfortunately little known – can be admired in the convent of Trinità dei Monti, which houses the Institute of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart and of the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem.
The building was built around 1550, and the two extraordinary anamorphisms are housed in the aisles of the first floor.
The first one, painted in 1642 by the Franciscan father Emmanuel Maignan, spreading along a 6 meter-long wall Ca. If one takes a point of observation grazing the wall, the image of St. Francis of Paola intent to pray at the foot of a tree is clearly visible. However, if one moves in front of the wall, a picturesque seascape unfolds in all its beauty: the small boat alludes to the miraculous crossing of the Strait of Messina by the Calabrian saint.
The second fresco, attributed to the French friar Jean François Nicéron, depicts Saint John the Evangelist, caught in the act of writing the book of Apocalypse in a cave of Patmos; when one moves away, it is the same island of the Aegean that appears in its compound magnificence.
Note the small owl – a symbol of wisdom – accompanied by an inscription in Greek which reads:
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE OPTICS IS THE EYEWITNESS OF THE APOCALYPSE.