Op art

An optical illusion represents our sense of vision and perception to define a reality in different ways. Op art or Optical art is based on the fact that the observer actively participates in pictorial appreciation through visual effects of relief, depth, movements through lines, flat and static colors.

What is op art?

Op art is a trend developed from the kinetic art that appeared after surrealism in the 20th century. It is defined as an artistic movement originating in the United States in 1958, which uses optical phenomena to produce abstract pictorial images, is considered an innovation by the use of illusory elements for the eye of the viewer.

About op art

This type of art creates sensations of movement through optical illusions on two-dimensional surfaces, developing perspectives that the human eye cannot fix in space.


The most outstanding characteristics of op art are:


Its origin is developed by the Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely (1906-1997) considered the father of Op art; Vasarely created his own model of geometric abstract art with optical effects of movement, ambiguity of forms, perspectives and unstable images. One of his most outstanding works was Zebra, an art style of the animal painting genre developed in Paris in 1937 when he was 31 years old.


Op art is an artistic pictorial movement and a trend born in April 1958 in the United States, although this school precedes in Europe where the first experiences on the perception of static or moving images lived; its main point of development and massification was in the United States.

It developed in the twentieth century, a period where world wars dominated and new nuclear weapons appeared, with the imminent arrival of the Cold War for the United States at that time.

Its terminology first appeared in Time magazine in October 1964.

It was influenced by movements such as Constructivism, Bauhaus, De Stijl and Supremacism.

Because of its variety of forms, op art was accepted by the public, where it had great influence in other areas of art such as advertising, graphics and fashion.

The movement was solidified by an exhibition held in 1965 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York entitled “The responsive, eye”.

Types of op art

Its most relevant derivations are:

How it differs from kinetic art

Prestigious representatives of op art


The most outstanding works of op art are:


This movement generates a constant evolution in the modern world and in art, since constantly the perception, culture, beliefs, concepts and ideals are modified over time through the contribution of manifestations that definitively create a synergy between the spectator and the work. Therefore, this movement lacks emotions for greater receptivity and interpretation, only using techniques such as illusion.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Op art. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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