Have any artists painted a picture within a picture within a picture?
It can be any media and any artist! Just a picture in a picture in a picture! Or anything similar that pops into your mind!
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Sure, that's happened. It is fairly common in some genres, especially popular genres. The easiest examples can be seen in the work of M. C. Escher or the cartoonist Charles Adams. Escher created images in which image and reality blended together, and sometimes layered things as you were asking about. Adams—the guy who created the Adams Family—did this in cartoons. He had people looking into mirrors, and image within image within image, except that somewhere in the middle, there were be one that was different. Impossible, scary, and fun.
The painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez depicts what can be seen as 3 separate paintings within one frame.
At first we see that it is a painting of the Spanish court.
Upon closer inspection it appears that the artist has also created a portrait of himself in the doorway looking out toward the audience. Is it a reflection of him painting the Spanish court or is he painting a subject beyond the pictorial space?
A third portrait of the royal couple appears as a reflection in the mirror.
My favorite is Stephen Colbert's self-portrait, a great parody of some of the art mentioned above. It actually hung in the Smithsonian!
Check it out here.
There's Norman Rockwell's self-portrait, where he paints himself painting himself while looking into a mirror.
The Stephen Colbert and Norman Rockwell portraits are brilliant! :) ... more ideas are welcome too! thanks!
I like Velasquez' Las Meninas. If you are interested, Carlos Fuentes has an amazing description of how the "picture within a picture" concept can serve as a metaphor for Spanish history, as well as the history of America. This can be found in his work entitled The Buried Mirror. It is a wonderful expression of an talented work of art.
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