Remember those trippy Magic Eye 3-D posters with hidden images that appeared from within the main busy-patterned prints after you stared at them for a minute? Well, imagine an actual artist-rendered painting magically coming into view on the razor-thin edges of a book.
It looks like an ordinary book, right? Just take another look ...
Cornell University archivist Evan Earle created a video to demonstrate this intricately detailed technique that is known as “fore-edge” painting. In it an exquisite work hides just beneath the slick gilded edge of a 1925 copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.
This particular example of fore-edging by Miss C.B. Currie posed an even greater challenge. Currie painted the scene in a way that requires the book to be slightly fanned out to reveal the labor-intensive artistry.
Currie's work stands out as one of several fore-edge paintings within the Cornell Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, because it's the only one with a laid-in photo of its scene.
Check out the video below to watch the fascinating transformation.