Gianni A. Sarcone

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Gianni A. Sarcone
Born (1962-03-20) 20 March 1962 (age 61)
Vevey, Switzerland
Other namesGiovanni Sarcone
Occupation(s)Visual artist and writer
Known forOp art, optical illusions, visual creativity, and recreational mathematics

Gianni A. Sarcone (born March 20, 1962) is a visual artist and author who collaborates with educational publications, writing articles and columns on topics related to art, science, and mathematics education. He has contributed to several science magazines, including Focus Junior[1] (Italy), Query-CICAP (Italy), Rivista Magia (Italy), Alice & Bob / Bocconi University (Italy), Brain Games (USA), and Tangente[2] (France). Sarcone has over 30 years of experience as a designer and researcher in the areas of visual creativity, recreational mathematics and educational games.

Visual research[edit]

Here are two relative size illusions described by Italian visual researcher Gianni A. Sarcone in 1997 and 2013. The first relative-size illusion called Sarcone's Crosses contradicts Ebbinghaus illusion (aka Titchener Circles, 1898) and Obonai square illusion (1954). Sarcone's cross illusion consists of a cross (the test shape) surrounded by sets of squares of distinct size (the inducing shapes). As shown in the diagram, the three blue crosses in fig. 1.a, 1.b and 1.c are exactly the same size; the one on the left (fig. 1.a), however, appears larger. The illusion works even when the small squares completely occlude the blue cross (see fig. 1.c). In conclusion, there isn't always correlation between the size of the surrounding shapes and the relative size perception of the test shape. In fig. 2.a and 2.b, by effect of assimilation, the diagonal red line within the large ellipse seems subjectively longer, but in fact the blue line is objectively the longest of both lines.[3]

Considered a leading authority on visual perception by academic institutions, Sarcone was invited to serve as a juror[4] at the Third Annual "Best Illusion of the Year Contest" held in Sarasota, Florida (USA). His optical illusion projects 'Mask of Love'[5] and 'Autokinetic Illusion'[6] were named among the top 10 best optical illusions in the 2011 and 2014 "Best Illusion of the Year Contests", respectively. In 2017, he placed third in the contest for his ‘Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion’. [7]

Amongst other notable projects, he created and designed an “hypnoptical”[8] visual illusion that was used in the logo and institutional signage of the 2014 Grec Festival of Barcelona,[9] a significant cultural event featuring avant-garde musical, dance, and theater performances.

On October 16, 2021, for the International Observe the Moon Night, his joint work “Moona Lisa” has been selected as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)[10] by the NASA.

Honors and awards[edit]

Award Organization Year Result
Best Illusion of the Year 2011 Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2011 Top Ten Finalist[11]
Best Illusion of the Year 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2014 Top Ten Finalist[12]
Best Illusion of the Year 2017 Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2017 Won[13]
Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2018 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books 2018 Won[14]
Best Illusion of the Year 2019 Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2019 Top Ten Finalist[15]

Educational project[edit]

G. Sarcone has authored and published numerous educational textbooks and illustrated books[16] in English, French and Italian on brain training and the mechanism of vision. He is the founder of[17] a consulting network of experts specializing in improving and enhancing creativity - for which he has been commended with a long list of accolades and awards, including the 2003 Scientific American Sci/Tech Web Award[18] in Mathematics and received recognition[19] in the US from: CNN Headline News, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and[20]

Media and broadcasting[edit]

Some of Sarcone's artworks such as The Other Face of Paris[21] or Flashing Star[22] have gone viral on the Internet. His works were also presented in several national and international television programs, including 'Rai 3' Italy, 'RTL 9 Channel' France, 'TSR 1 Channel' Switzerland, and in the following TV series:

  • ‘Nippon Television Network’ / NTV (Japan): "Fukashigi"; Japanese: 不可思議探偵団 (2012).
  • ‘National Geographic Television’[23] (US): "Brain Games Science" (2014).
  • ‘Beyond Production’ PTY LTD (Australia): "Wild But True" – Season 1 (2014).
  • "Masahiro Nakai’s Useful Library"[24] show, a widely followed Japanese TV program (June, 2015).

Selected works[edit]


Recent published works (2014-20)[edit]

G. Sarcone is the author (and co-author) of the following books:

  • Fantastic Optical Illusions: More Than 150 Deceptive Images and Visual Tricks, Carlton, UK, 2020, ISBN 178739235X.
  • Ultimate Eye Twisters, Carlton, UK, 2019, ISBN 1783124482.
  • Amazing Optical Illusions, Carlton, UK, 2018, ISBN 1787391639.
  • Optical Illusions, QED Publishing, UK, 2017, ISBN 1784938475.
  • You Can't Possibly Color This!, Moondance Press, US, 2017, ISBN 1633223515.
  • How to draw incredible optical illusions, Imagine Publishing, US, 2015, ISBN 1623540607.
  • Xtreme Illusions 2, National Geographic Kids, US, 2015, ISBN 978-1-4263-1974-7
  • Super Optical Illusions, Carlton Kids, UK, 2014, ISBN 1783120851
  • Hidden Picture Puzzles, Imagine Publishing, US, 2014, ISBN 1623540380
  • Optical Illusions: An Eye-Popping Extravaganza of Visual Tricks, Dover Publications, US, 2014, ISBN 0486493547
  • Impossible Colouring Book: Can You Colour These Amazing Visual Illusions?, Arcturus Publishing, UK, 2014, ISBN 178212182X
  • Make Your Own 3D Illusions - 3D illusions pack: All You Need to Build 50 Great Illusions, Carlton Books, UK, 2014, ISBN 1780974817
  • Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes, Dover Publications, US, 2014, ISBN 0486493512

Non-fiction books in other languages[edit]

  • Les millors il·lusions òptiques, Editorial Brúixola, Spain, 2020, ISBN 8499062962
  • Las mejores ilusiones ópticas, Editorial Bruño, Spain, 2020, ISBN 846962721X
  • Optične iluzije, Tehniška Založba Slovenije D.d., Slovenia, 2019, ISBN 9789612514464
  • Ilusões Óticas, Booksmile, Portugal, 2019, ISBN 9789897076589
  • Varázslatos optikai csalódások, Ventus Libro Kiadó, Hungary, 2019, ISBN 9786155755439
  • Optische illusies, Lantaarn Publishers, Netherlands, 2019, ISBN 9789463543101
  • Ilusões de ótica, Quarto (Nobel), Brazil, 2018, ISBN 9780857625533
  • Optische Illusionen, Ars Edition, Germany, 2018, ISBN 9783845826592
  • Illusions d’optique, Fleurus, France, 2018, ISBN 2215136839
  • 錯視の魔術, Kyouikugageki, Japan, 2018, ISBN 4774621277
  • Optiska illusioner , Ordalaget, Sweden, 2018, ISBN 9789174692211
  • Illusioni ottiche, Armenia, Italy, 2018, ISBN 8834432290
  • Vertigo: 50 Schwindelerregende Optische Illusionen, Moses Verlag, Germany, 2016, ISBN 3897779072
  • Optische Täuschungen XXL, Ars Edition, Germany, 2016, ISBN 3845816007
  • 謎解き錯視 傑作135選 (135 Mysterious Optic Artworks to Solve), Sogen-Sha, Japan, 2015, ISBN 4422700987
  • Libro para colorear figuras imposibles, Editorial HISPANO EUROPEA, Spain, 2014, ISBN 8425521106
  • 3D Optiset Harhat,, Finland, 2014, ISBN 9789522209115
  • Incroyables Illusions d’Optique, Ça m’intéresse, France, 2014, ISBN 2810413274
  • 50 Illusions d’Optique 3D, Editions Ça m’intéresse, France, 2014, ISBN 2810412685
  • Illusions - Coloriage Créatif, Editions Bravo, Canada, 2014, ISBN 2896701729
  • 图中奥秘 : 挑战脑力的错视图 (Amazing Visual Illusions), Qingdao Shi, China, 2013, ISBN 9787543690998
  • 图有玄机 : 挑战眼力的错视图 (The World of Visual Illusions), Qingdao Shi, China, 2013, ISBN 9787543690257
  • Le Cabinet des Illusions d’Optique : 100 Illusions Stupéfiantes, Editions Fleurus, France, 2013, ISBN 2215147407
  • Удивительные оптические иллюзии (Amazing Visual Illusions), Art-Rodnik, Russian Federation, 2013, ISBN 978-5-4449-0048-2
  • Рисуем оптические иллюзии (Drawing Optical Illusions), Art-Rodnik, Russian Federation, 2013, ISBN 978-5-4449-0050-5
  • Kiehtovat Optiset Harhat, Kustannusosakeyhtiö Nemo, Finland, 2013, ISBN 978-952-240-195-3
  • Optische Illusionen, Ars Edition, Germany, 2013, ISBN 3760791301
  • Pliages, découpages et magie, Editions Pole, France, 2012, ISBN 2848841656
  • De wonderlijke wereld van de optische illusies, Deltas Centrale uitgeverij, The Netherlands, 2012, ISBN 9789044734164
  • Unglaubliche Optische Illusionen, Verlag an der Este, Germany, 2012, Artikel-Nr.: 019435
  • Spectaculaire Optische Illusies, Uitgeverij Atrium, The Netherlands, 2011, ISBN 9789059473607
  • L’étrange univers des illusions d’optique, Editions Fleurus, France, 2011, ISBN 978 2215 11012 5
  • Ilusiones Opticas, Circulo de Lectores Barcelona, Spain, 2010, ISBN 8467237414
  • Fantasticas ilusiones opticas, Editorial Libsa Sa, Spain, 2010, ISBN 8466221255
  • Optische Täuschungen, Bassermann F., Germany, 2009, ISBN 380942398X
  • Fantastische Optische Illusionen, Tosa Verlagsgesellschaft, Germany, 2008, ISBN 3850031926
  • FantaLogica, Edizioni La Meridiana, Italy, 2009, ISBN 8861530923
  • Neue Optische Illusionen, Weltbild, Germany, 2008, ISBN 3828952798
  • 阿基米德视幻觉游戏 (Archimedes' Visual Illusion Games), China Friendship Publishing Company, China, 2007, ISBN 9787505723467
  • 视幻觉 (Optical illusions), China Friendship Publishing Company, China, 2007, ISBN 9787505723047
  • Optische Illusionen, Weltbild, Germany, 2006, ISBN 3828921264
  • Niewe Optische Illusies, BZZTOH, The Netherlands, 2006, ISBN 9045304732
  • Nouvelles Illusions d’Optique, France Loisirs, France, 2006, ISBN 2744192368
  • MateMagica, Edizioni La Meridiana, Italy, 2005, ISBN 8889197560
  • L’Almanach du Mathématicien en herbe, Editions Archimède, France, 2002, ISBN 2844690254
  • La Couleur dans tous ses états, Editions Yva Peyret, France, 1995, ISBN 2-8308-0029-X

Personal life[edit]

Sarcone has practiced and continues to practice various Martial arts and Combat sports, including Yoseikan budō, Kickboxing, Jujutsu), and holds a black belt in Taekwondo.[25]


  1. ^ Il Club della Magia, Sarcone’s column in Focus Junior magazine (June 2014).
  2. ^ Illusions et trucages, Sarcone’s column in Tangente magazine (June 2013).
  3. ^ Sarcone & Waeber, Dazzling Optical Illusion. Sterling Publishing, 2002, p. 38.
  4. ^ Previous Judges of Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest.
  5. ^ Mask of Love, nominated top 10 Best Illusions of the Year 2011.
  6. ^ Autokinetic Illusion, nominated top 10 Best Illusions of the Year 2014.
  7. ^ Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion, won the third place in the Best Illusions of the Year Contest 2017.
  8. ^ "Hypnoptical" is a portmanteau word invented in 1999 by G. Sarcone that blends the words ‘hypnotical’ and ‘optical’ together.
  9. ^ Grec Festival 2014, presentation of the logo with the optical effect created by G. Sarcone.
  10. ^ APOD: 2021 October 16 - The Moona Lisa.
  11. ^ "Mask of Love". Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2011.
  12. ^ "Autokinetic Illusion". Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2014.
  13. ^ "Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion". Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2017.
  14. ^ "Optical illusions book". Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2018.
  15. ^ "Magic Tic-Tac-Toe". Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2019.
  16. ^ Sarcone’s partial bibliography, in WorldCat catalog.
  17. ^ Archimedes’ Laboratory, is part Open Education Consortium.
  18. ^ 2003 Sci/Tech Award, for the communication of mathematics to the general public.
  19. ^ Accolades and awards that Archimedes Laboratory has received.
  20. ^ “Short Sharp Science”, New Scientist, Best illusions: Masked face conceals a kiss (May 2011).
  21. ^ Viral Sarcone’s Other Face of Paris.
  22. ^ Viral Sarcone’s Flashing Star.
  23. ^ Sarcone’s illusion Hypnotic Vibes, shown as interactive exhibit at ‘Las Vegas Adventure Dome’(USA, National Geographic TV, June 2014).
  24. ^ Sarcone’s Mask of Love, presented in ‘Masahiro Nakai’s Useful Library’ TV show (Japan, June 2015).
  25. ^ Sarcone’s black belt session, June 2015.

Related links[edit]

External links[edit]