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My father-in-law has a painting by Vu Cao Dam of two girls and a man on horseback. He found a hidden fox in the painting, and today we were looking at it and found some more.

What do you call it when an artist intentionally puts a hidden image within a larger work of art? My father-in-law swears there is a word, and that it is a general term which can apply to different media. It can apply to actors who make cameos or easter eggs in software.

What word is this?

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A bit off-topic, but this reminds me of steganography, which refers to the hiding of messages, often in clever ways. It has had something of a resurgence in the digital age. –  Snubian Jun 29 '11 at 3:14
    
Ever read "The Mezzotint"? –  Thursagen Jun 29 '11 at 5:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As per snubian I suggest steganograph.

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I'd be inclined to use that word only for textual information or, as a recent extension to the meaning, digital information encoded in the actual bits of a computer encoding of the image. –  Jon Hanna Jan 20 '13 at 0:42
    
How do you pronounce it? steh-NAG-oh-graph? STEG-uh-nuh-graph? Something else? –  Mitch Mar 6 '13 at 21:00
    
Definitely not Steh NAG, since it's spelled "stegan". I go with your second choice. –  Hellion Mar 7 '13 at 2:41

The term anamorphosis seems to be close – it describes a type of concealed image that requires viewing either through/with a special device, or from a particular perspective, in order to reveal a feature or shape that is not immediately apparent to the casual observer.

I have also discovered that 2D optical illusions bearing hidden 3D projections that your brain can be tricked into seeing, (Magic Eye-type images), are called autostereograms.

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+1 for reminding me of the word "anamorphic" :) –  Paul Amerigo Pajo Jul 1 '11 at 3:25

I would call it a hidden, double, multiple, or ambiguous image; or, if the hidden image were especially non-sequitorial, perhaps "a shining example of the paranoiac-critical method". Some hidden images are due to the Figure-Ground phenomenon, others are due to Gestalt, others I'm sure are due to other things. Other than "easter egg", though, I can't really think of another alternative. Perhaps the links will have something I missed.

P.s. Dali's The Endless Enigma is the best example of multiple hidden or ambiguous images that I know of.

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You should check out Pavel Tchelitchew's Hide and Seek. –  Robusto Jan 26 '13 at 15:23

Visual penetration, which allows a special point of focus.

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Visual penetration! That's an interesting word. Do you have any references? Inspiration for this answer? –  Mohit Mar 8 '13 at 6:51

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 6 '13 at 18:59

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