Mind-Bending Gate Design Is an Optical Illusion Extending Back Into Space

Optical Illusion Gate

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

A gate in Vienna, Austria, is an optical illusion. Utilizing a one-point perspective, it appears to extend back into space and makes it look like the actual wrought iron gate is much farther down the path. But thanks to its clever use of line and scale, it all sits on a flat plane.

The mind-bending gate leads to the grounds of the Theresianum Academy, a private boarding and day school founded in 1746 by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. It has more than 100 students ranging from elementary school to upper school (high school).

The trompe-l'œil embedded within the gate is a great lesson in perspective for the students. It demonstrates how one point can trick our eye into thinking that something is farther away than it actually is. They can see this in practice when the gate opens; the extended landscape is not protruding into the distance. It's right in front of them, all at once.

A mind-bending wrought iron gate design in Vienna, Austria, uses a one-point perspective to create the illusion of depth.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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