On Stereoscopic Art

Nicholas J. Wade (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
141 Downloads (Pure)


Pictorial art is typically viewed with two eyes, but it is not binocular in the sense that it requires two eyes to appreciate the art. Two-dimensional representational art works allude to depth that they do not contain, and a variety of stratagems is enlisted to convey the impression that surfaces on the picture plane are at different distances from the viewer. With the invention of the stereoscope by Wheatstone in the 1830s, it was possible to produce two pictures with defined horizontal disparities between them to create a novel impression of depth. Stereoscopy and photography were made public at about the same time and their marriage was soon cemented; most stereoscopic art is now photographic. Wheatstone sought to examine stereoscopic depth without monocular pictorial cues. He was unable to do this, but it was achieved a century later by Julesz with random-dot stereograms The early history of non-photographic stereoscopic art is described as well as reference to some contemporary works. Novel stereograms employing a wider variety of carrier patterns than random dots are presented as anaglyphs; they show modulations of pictorial surface depths as well as inclusions within a binocular picture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Early online date27 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • anaglyphs
  • Julesz
  • Dali
  • graphics
  • stereoscopic art
  • random-dot stereograms
  • Wheatstone
  • binocular vision
  • photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sensory Systems
  • Ophthalmology


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