This painting has a shocking and sinister secret

There's nothing the internet loves more than a good old optical illusion, and we've had our brains fried by many a visual head-scratcher over the years. But none have been quite as sinister as this painting, which contains three different images in one.

At first glance, it looks like a fairly standard painting of a contemplative fisherman, albeit one with a curiously asymmetrical face. But when each side of that face is mirrored, we end up with two entirely different takes on the original painting. (Check out our top painting techniques if you're inspired to pick up a brush.)

Fisherman painting

The original, seemingly innocent painting (Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)

1902's Az Öreg Halász (The Old Fisherman) by Hungarian artist Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka can be mirrored in one of two ways, to reveal either a kindly-looking man in prayer, or a much more sinister depiction of the devil, complete with horns and a red face. 

Fisherman painting

All three versions of the painting (Image credit: Wikipedia Commons/Future owns)

According to Hungary Today, the painting "shows us the bipolarity of human being, the good and the bad faces of us". And it's currently going down a storm on Reddit, with users loving the concept. "Very talented to be able to embed three images into one, I'd love to know how the hell he did it," one comments, while another simply adds, "What is this sorcery?!".

From rotating cubes that aren't actually rotating and falling people who aren't actually falling to actual floating ships, we've seen some incredible illusions over the past few months. And while this one requires a some Photoshop trickery to fully appreciate, it's definitely up there with the best examples of visual trickery we've seen recently. Check out today's best Adobe deals below if you fancy trying it out for yourself.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).