Thursday, February 3, 2011

Skulls Wine, A Different Label

I recently had a festive dinner at Sandy and Greg's, with neighbors of theirs, Chris and Gary. Gary and Chris brought the main course and the second hit of the evening, an Australian red wine called Skulls. This is what Skulls looks like from the front ...

... and this is the Skulls bottle from the back.
Now take a closer look at the label.

Click to enlarge.
This ingenious drawing is by Istvan Orosz (b.1951), a Hungarian graphic designer, poster artist and film director. Orosz is very interested in illusions, and in particular, anamorphosis, which Wikipedia defines as "a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image." Below is an anamorph by Istvan Orosz.

The Ambassadors  |  Holbein  |  Phaidon, 1976
Another prime example of anamorphosis is Hans Holbein's 1533 painting, The Ambassadors, with its famous foreground skull. So there you have it, two skull illusions in one posting.

"And what about the wine?" you ask. It was good, but I'll let Robert Parker's Wine Advocate describe it: "The 2007 Skulls Red Wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mataro raised in stainless steel. Dark ruby-colored, it offers up an expressive bouquet of garrigue, forest floor, spice box and cherry. Forward, medium-bodied and friendly, this savory effort will drink well over the next six years."


  1. So so ingenious! You have to hand it to those Australians! We can take macabre or ingenoius things like this and turn it into a good wine that not only drinks well and tastes good as well!

    I was unfamiliar with Orosz, now added him onto my list of people/things to research. This is what I like about your blog! Always inspires me in my thirst for knowledge!

  2. Cheers to Australia! And thanks for the kind words from one who is a gentleman and (we know) a scholar.

  3. Dear Mark, Visiting your blog is like visiting the library, I learn something new, every time I go. Thanks!

  4. Kevin, thanks so much for visiting while on vacation, and thank you also for that compliment. I've always loved browsing through libraries myself. ...Mark

  5. Love this post! Am not familiar with this wine but would purchase it for label alone - but after reading Parker's review, it sounds like a definite try. Was familiar with the Holbein but not Orosz. Count this is my new piece of knowledge for the day- always has to be at least one!!

  6. Hi, Quintessence! As I say to my friends, "Your fun fact for the day!"

    When I looked at Orosz's label drawing, it reminded me of Durer, and sure enough, his Web site has a drawing that's an homage to Durer.

  7. I vividly remember coming across the Ambassadors when visiting the (beautifully redecorated by David Mlinaric I might add) National Gallery in London, where it famously resides. A stunning painting. And what a delightful label on the bottle of wine, indeed. Fun post. Reggie

  8. Reggie, I've often thought that if I could have my portrait painted by any of the famous artists, Holbein would be my choice. I have yet to visit the National Gallery in London, but it's on my bucket list... Mark

  9. I am familiar with Holbein's picture, and saw it again recently in London. I did not know about Istvan Orosz's work, and enjoy very much the example of the Corinthian (?) column you show. Can you tell me more about the latter? I would very much like to obtain a facsimile of the image.

  10. Dear Columnist, thanks for your visit. I can imagine that Istvam Orosz's Corinthian column would be very attractive to you!

    You can access his offical site by going to:

    His site is ingenious, but takes a little decoding to open! First click on the black box above UTISZ.NET. A gray image of two men from opposing dimensions will appear. They're looking at a rectangle. Click on the rectangle, sit back, and watch it slowly turn white. When the rectangle is completely white, click on it, and you will be lead to contact information for Istvan. Whew!

    I hope this helps,


  11. Thanks Mark, and particularly for the forewarning of the da Vinci codex required! Great work.