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Vasarely with code

When I was little I was once dragged to a castle in France that had been turned into a Victor Vasarely museum. I had no idea who Vasarely was, but it didn't take long for me to like his work. Victor Vasarely (1906 - 1997) was a Hungarian-French artist and is known for creating art and sculpture using optical illusion.

Last week, while on holiday in Budapest, I dragged myself to the Vasarely museum there - although dragged is probably not the right word. I was keen to go because I knew what to expect this time. The majority of the work on show are paintings, and while looking at the work it struck me that if Vasarely had been born 80 or 90 years later he might have created the bulk of his work using digital methods rather than canvas, brushes and paints.

The meticulousness of the paintings is amazing. No mistakes anywhere, no colours escaping their allotted sections, no bends in any of the straight lines, all the work is perfectly executed. Creating these works in Illustrator or Photoshop would be relatively easy and fast. But using paint requires patience and lots of attention to detail.

It made me wonder ... how easy would it be to recreate some of his work using digital methods. More specifically, using code: HTML, CSS & PHP. I began with something easy in black and white, created by Victor Vasarely in 1957. Then I tried one of the coloured artworks from 1963.

The Vasarely museum Victor Vasarely painting, 1957.
The Vasarely museum Victor Vasarely painting, 1963.

You can also see the live result of Vasarely in black & white and Vasarely in colour. It includes the code used as well. Both examples are responsive too, so they scale nicely wether you're reading this on your phone or your desktop.

I am pleased with the result, but I do think the real thing is much better. Especially when you're standing in front of it in a museum.

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