The trompe l’oeil, literally “to deceive the eye”, consists of a pictorial technique used to create a three-dimensional illusion of a two-dimensional surface. Real optical illusions leave room for non-existent environments or elements, such as windows, doors, landscapes, outdoor environments in general, or even simple drawings or prints.
The artist thus creates a very realistic painting through plays and illusions. The secret lies in the wise use of both perspective and chiaroscuro, and elements that give depth and relief.
The ultimate goal is to visually enlarge and open small and closed environments, making them airy and spacious.
Brief notes on the technique
In addition to the skills in the use of perspective and chiaroscuro, the trompe l’oeil painting technique requires knowledge and skill in drawing and mastering the use of color and its nuances. In addition, it is essential to take into account the light sources of the environment to reach the peak of pictorial illusion.
Trompe l’oeil can be performed on a panel a few millimeters thick, on papaer, canvas or directly on the wall. It is fundamental that the surface of the thin wooden panel is perfectly smooth and not very porour.
The trompe l’oeil in history
The trompe l’oeil tecnique has very ancient origins. It has been a decorative element widely used throughout the history of art to embellish walls of houses, churches and public spaces. Originally the privileged subjects consisted of colonnades, domes or niches.
Nowadays, the trompe l’oeil technique is also used in perfect fit with modern environments. The goal is always to give depth to the environments and give a wider scope to small or closed rooms or walls.
Here are two examples of trompe l’oeil with drawings and prints:
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