CELEBRATING THE ART OF LIVING WELL,
AS THE FRENCH DO,
BY USING ALL FIVE SENSES
TO APPRECIATE EVERYTHING ABOUT LIFE

(FOR MY JOIE DE VIVRE PHILOSOPHY, READ MY FIRST THREE POSTS FROM JUNE 2009)






08 October 2010

Trompe l'Oeil Painting - A Brief History

Now that you've seen some of my trompe l'oeil painting, in my last post, let me introduce you to some incredible-holycow-knock-your-sock-off works by other artists. Art history is full of examples of trompe l'oeil painting, going back as far as Roman pompeii. In fact, the genre has never faded from popularity since the Renaissance, and has been used for both fine art paintings, as well as murals in homes, castles, churches and other public buildings, for centuries. As a child, I remember seeing trompe l'oeil paintings and wishing I could do something similar "some day". I first studied this type of painting when I was in college (one of my majors being Art History). Then studying abroad, and traveling throughout Europe, I was absolutely taken with actual examples of trompe l'oeil painting on walls, ceilings, building facades, etc., and I have been in love ever since!

The art of trompe l'oeil is painstakingly slow. It is the artist's meticulous attention to detail, including light and shadow, that make two-dimensional paintings appear to be 3D. In the 1960's, artists like Richard Estes and Chuck Close began experimenting with photorealism and then came superrealism - all basically the same thing - trompe l'oeil painting, to fool the eye of the beholder into perceiving the work of art as real life.

HISTORIC EXAMPLES OF THE ART

One of my favorite examples of this art form is Escaping Criticism (above) by the Spanish artist, Pere Borrel del Caso, in 1874. It incorporates a tongue-in-cheek attitude that is present in many trompe l'oeil paintings. Because the artist is trying to fool the viewer's eye, he or she often injects an element of fun into the fooling. In other words, the trompe l'oeil artist deliberately attempts to trick the viewer, but then makes sure the viewer realizes it, too.

The Bachelor's Drawer, by Dutch painter, John Haberle, c. 1890, depicts everyday objects that remain popular subjects of trompe l'oeil paintings to this day: photos, postcards, money, playing cards, stamps, tickets and other personal items. Following are more examples of this charming theme:

Edward Collier, c. 1699

Johann Heinrich Fussli, 1750

Cornelius Gijsbrechts, 1671

Cornelius Gijsbrechts, 1675







Michelangelo Meucci, 1840-90





Trompe l'oeil also exists beyond the realm of the canvas and plaster surface. Here is a late 19th c. French majolica plate.



MURALS - OLD & NEW

Painted murals on walls - both interior (including ceilings) and exterior - have been popular since trompe l'oeil was invented. In fact the first known examples of the style were on the walls of villas at Pompeii, so it's safe to assume that they go back into dates B.C.

Contemporary French ceiling


Above two, Bunny Mellon's greenhouse at Oak Springs with trompe l’oeil murals by Fernand Renard.




Above four, by Graham Rust. He is my favorite muralist. I have all of his books and find his work to be so inspirational.

Garage door

Building in Tehran

Mark Harper


Two above, by Michael Potter

Building facade in Brussels, covering the exterior of the new Magritte Museum before it opened. According to one of my readers, Hugo H., behind the "curtain" you can see Magritte's probably most famous painting, "Her Rijk Der Lichten" (The Empire of Lights).



John Pugh

Yannick Geugan

Ceiling detail by Yves Lanthier



TROMPE L'OEIL TODAY

There are so many living artists doing incredible trompe l'oeil work. Here is just a small sampling of some of these talents:

Two paintings above, by Koo Schadler





Five above, by David Brega

Donald Clapper has done a series of paintings entitled "Which stamp is real?"



Three above, by Miriam Escofet



Three above, by Michael Theise


Two above, by Robert Jackson


Two above by Richard Newell





Five above, by Sydney Bella Sparrow

Michael James Riddet



EXAMPLES OF PHOTOREALISM


Two paintings above, by Richard Estes


Two paintings above, by Chuck Close


CONTEMPORARY TROMPE L'OEIL THAT'S WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX



Edgar Mueller does incredible street art that is seriously mind twisting. (Two examples, above)


Above two pavement art pictures by Julian Beever.

The exterior of a building in Paris - WOW!

Guido Daniele paints on human hands and bodies, for advertising, as well as fine art.

* * * 

There are numerous books on trompe l'oeil - of varying qualities. Here are some I think are worth reading:


Trompe l'Oeil Panels, by Yannick Guegan


The Painted House, by Graham Rust

Decorative Designs, by Graham Rust

The Painted Ceiling, by Graham Rust

Brand new: Revisiting the Painted House, by Graham Rust

One thing I appreciate about the four Graham Rust books, above, is that they do not duplicate each other. They are all loaded with fresh ideas and pictures.


The Art of Faux, by Pierre Finkelstein



4 comments:

  1. Wow! So many amazing examples of Trompe l'Oeil! It was great to see how the art has changed/remained the same over time!

    E+J

    ReplyDelete
  2. Impressive examples because they range the gamut of subject matter - get's one thinking. . .

    ReplyDelete
  3. George R.C. RhoadesFebruary 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Thank you for the time and effort put into this site!! Excellent work by all noted here of course. Trompe l'oeil is truly a wonderful 'place' in life to 'work' !! Merci encore.

    ReplyDelete

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