Trompe L’Oeil Means Trick of the Eye


A previous post about faux finishing got me thinking about the most extraordinary faux finish of all: trompe l’oeil. This is a technique that creates the optical illusion of a three-dimensional space, out of what in reality is just a two-dimensional painting. In it’s simplest form trompe l’oeil might depict a window or hallway meant to create the illusion of a larger room, but taken to the extreme you have the fresco in this 17th century nave ceiling by Bacissio in the Gesu Church in Rome. The ceiling appears to vault into the stratosphere, with ornate gilt carvings and massive stone statues. You simply cannot believe it’s just a flat painting. Your eyes truly do deceive you.

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