It’s not so scary skull optical illusions!

The skull optical illusion is an ambiguous drawing.

When viewed from afar the image appears as a human skull. But, there is another aspect of these images when viewed closely.”

The image of the skull is formed by two people facing each other or the reflection of a person in a vanity mirror.

Skull optical illusion is a type of memento mori:
An art that has a human skull as a focal point is called memento mori.
In Latin: memento mori means “remember you will die”.
The art symbolically reminds death is inevitable that is humans are mortal.

In the late 19th and early 20th century the skull optical illusion was very popular in France. It was used in advertisements, posters and postcards.

Here, is a collection of vintage posters, postcards and magazine cover depicting the skull optical illusion:

NOTE: View the images from a far and find a human skull!

The Most Famous Skull Optical Illusion

All is vanity by Charles Allan Gilbert
Title: All is vanity
Illustrator: Charles Allan Gilbert (1873-1929)
Year: 1892
Country: USA

In all is vanity poster, a pretty girl is sitting in front of her vanity table. In another aspect, her reflection on mirror completes another picture that is of a skull.
The title “all is vanity” is inspired from the biblical phrase:
“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2 KJV
The book of Ecclesiastes in the Holy Bible is written by King Solomon. In that book, he ponders the vanities of the world.
The title of the poster “all is vanity” is ironical as it shows a woman sitting before the vanity table and doing makeup, which is also a vanity.
“All is vanity” is the most famous skull optical illusion.

All is vanity skull optical illusion - Japanese version
All is vanity skull optical illusion
(Japanese Version)
Year: c. 1910

Couple Themed Skull Optical Illusions

Skull Optical Illusion
Title: L’amour de Pierrot (The love of Pierrot)
Year: 1905
Country: France
Life and death optical illusion by Currier & Ives
Title: Life and death
Publisher: Currier & Ives
Old couple or skull optical illusion
Title: Stillvergnügt Délice Silencieux
Couple skating or skull optical illusion.
Title: Tête de mort (Skull)
Couple chatting or skull optical illusion
Couple chatting
Couple or skull
Title: La vie et la mort (Life and death)
Automobile or skull optical illusion
Title: Automobile, the course of death
The imperial Russian family or skull optical illusion
Title: La famille impériale de Russie
(The imperial family of Russia)

Skull Optical Illusions In Vintage Magazine Cover

Two persons are discussing Wilson tariff bill or skull optical illusion
(Two persons are discussing Wilson tariff bill)
Title: Death to our industries
Magazine: Judge
Issue: May 19, 1894
Two angels or skull optical illusion
Magazine: Pchela
Year: 1906
Country: Russia
Skull optical illusion
Magazine: The Shadow
Issue: May 15, 1935
Illustrator: George Rozen
Publisher: Street and Smith

Life Themed Skull Optical Illusions

Two ladies or skull optical illusion
Title: Au revoir (Goodbye)
Two ladies playing chess or skull optical illusion
Title: Une partie de Dames (Ladies playing)
Illustrator: Charles D
A lady sitting on a bench or skull optical illusion.
Title: Shattered dreams
A lady with her new born child or skull optical illusion
Mother with her new born child

Social Evil Themed Skull Optical Illusions

Skull optical illusion
Title: The danger of drinks
Skull Optical Illusion
Title: Die Macht des Goldes; Die Lösung der Frage Sudans
(The Power of Gold; A solution to the Sudan conflict)
Year: 1884
Country: Germany
General or skull optical illusion
Title: (S)KUL(L)TUR
Two ladies or skull optical illusion
Title: The war

Child Themed Skull Optical Illusions

The vintage skull optical illusion having children as a subject, had following titles:

  • THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF LIFE
  • THEN AND NOW
  • LIFE AND DEATH
  • LIFE IS JUST A GAME OF DOLLS

Isn’t it scary, how people used innocent kids in skull optical illusion, especially for ads!

Garbage Pail Kids Skull Optical Illusion
Sticker Album: Garbage Pail Kids
Slogan: Beauty is only skin deep
Year: 1985
Country: USA
Two kids playing with a doll or a skull optical illusion

Two kids sitting or a skull optical illusion
Two girls playing with a doll or a skull optical illusion.

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