It starts off normally enough. Someone finds a painting that speaks to them on some level and they decide to take it home, even if said painting was in a dumpster or washed up on some beach or in the ruins of a house. The artwork instantly becomes a centerpiece, shown off to every single guest --everyone that passes by the house, really-- even if nobody else gets the charm and in fact finds it rather eerie.
The “rescuer” (as they inevitably style themselves) soon becomes obsessed with their find, staring at it for days on end, utterly oblivious to the way the piece slllloooooooowy changes. Sometimes the painted objects decay, sometimes they reverse-age, sometimes something altogether weirder happens; regardless, many do not realize until it’s far too late and they find the affect has also happened to THEM.
A fortunate few are able to snap out of this trance or have a concerned friend or neighbor help them out, and the possessed painting is promptly disposed of, sometimes with woodchippers and bonfires. No matter what happens, though, the spectral picture magically recovers and waits for the next poor fool...
Initially I wanted to use a photo of actual peepers in the peepholes here, but it wasn't working for a number of reasons and I think the drawn eyes managed to pull off the "unnaturally natural" look far better anyways.
Also, the picture isn't always "portrait of some Victorian guy." As it's literally paint on a canvas it can be whatever it wants.