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Using a kaleidoscope lens at an art museum

Claude Monet "Apples and Grapes", 1880 (kaleidoscope)

Bring a cheap kaleidoscope lens with you to an art museum, and you’ll be guaranteed to have an ever-changing wonderful time. You can get one for $8 on Amazon (and you’ll also get a whole array of other fun lenses).

Akinger 10 in 1 Phone Lens Kit 2 Pcs Kaleidoscope Lens

The best artwork to view through a kaleidoscope lens is still life with fruit.

Here is Paul Cezanne’s “The Basket of Apples“, c. 1893 on the left. The kaleidoscope version on the right.

Paul Cezanne, "The Basket of Apples", c. 1893

The fruit magically multiplies!

Artsy’s bio on Cezanne says, “unstable compositions full of impetuosity and vigor that paved the way for the advent of Cubism and abstract painting.” Fitting to re-interpret Cezanne with a kaleidoscope!

Still life fruit is baskets full of fun through a kaleidoscope.

The most disturbing artwork through this lens are animals.

In example the sheep in “Meekness” by Eustache Le Sueur.

"Meekness" by Eustache Le Sueur (kaleidoscope)

And the sculpture, I don’t have the name.

More like “Creepness”. Through the lens, a regular sheep becomes a FIVE-HEADED MONSTER! Paintings with a single subject matter become too obvious when viewed through a kaleidoscope. “Oh look, here’s one person’s head”—and then—”oh, here are five heads. Yay.”

"Meekness" by Eustache Le Sueur (kaleidoscope)

Why still life works great with kaleidoscope lens

The fruit in still life is great, because there’s already a bunch of fruit, so it’s rather hard to tell when the fruit gets multiplied over and over in the kaleidoscope lens. In fact, when fruit is layered in a painting, that layered effect gets multiplied through this lens. There’s almost a depth of feeling when you look at it in a video. It’s like the fruit has come to life! No longer STILL life. Now virtual reality life!

Here’s a video with three paintings:

  1. Paul Cezanne, “The Basket of Apples”, c. 1893
  2. Claude Monet “Apples and Grapes”, 1880
  3. Juan de Zurbarán “Flowers and Fruit in a China Bowl” c. 1645

Flowers are also fun.

Chrysanthemums” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir makes a great subject.

Another fun subject are toes.

Maybe it’s the multiple rule again. As you know, feet have five toes, but under a kaleidoscope, you have a multitude of toes! OH MY!

lots of toes under a kaleidoscope lens

(I wish I had the artist name for this sculpture). Maybe on another visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, I’ll go foot hunting and shoot a series of photos.

UPDATE: I went foot hunting at the Art Institute of Chicago. The result is a fine collection of photographs from the feet of 19 statues.

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