Convincingly depicted imaginary scenes can create an experience for the viewer that is fully immersive, with the illusion placing the viewer deeply within the imagined world. There is little or no reference back to the hand of the artist, and the artist might be temporarily forgotten as we enter into and explore the new rules of this alternate universe.
The level of dedication required to invent and render such a scene might require a degree of obsession, and this obsessive quality can add to the experience of viewing such a work of art... we buy the illusion, suspend disbelief, only occasionally reminding ourselves that this immersive otherworldly experience was created through the sustained imagination of an individual.
An artist might use everything he or she has learned from the depiction of real life in order to build volumes, textures, and lighting in a new surreal scene. Or, the artist might choose to introduce new rules for the way light and surfaces behave in this other world.
Featured: The Vision of Tondalys by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch.