Memento Mori (after Holbein)
In The Ambassadors (1533), Hans Holbein depicts two men, surrounded by the accoutrements of a learned and cultured society. In the lower part of the painting, an elongated object slashes up and to the right, apparently in front of the posing gentlemen. When seen from an oblique angle, the object is revealed as a skull. This effect is an anamorphosis, an image projected obliquely to a picture plane that can only be seen from the original projection point. Holbein’s skull is a memento mori, or reminder of mortality. Using various software, the skull perspective is corrected and distorted anew, and redrawn with dots of varying diameters. Mounted on a surface and seen from the correct vantage point, a new memento mori appears, normally obfuscated by the seemingly random pattern of elliptical dots seen from elsewhere.