Trompe L’oeil

Notes from Ebert-Schifferer, Sybille. Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l’Oeil Painting. Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 2002.

P. 17

“Trompe L’oeil” is a French term meaning eye deceiver and it first appeared as a noun in 1800.

All painting until the mid 1800s strove for accurate imitation of the world. “Thus it was unnecessary to designate a genre for paintings that were particularly successful in this way.” Instead, subject matter separated what technique did not. History painting was at the top and still-life was at the bottom. To succeed at still-life all it took was technical skill. “It was precisely the way trompe l’oeil caused a painter to disappear behind his work that resulted in this genre’s being so despised within the hierarchic schemes established by the academies.” Display of authorship was important.

P. 18

Academia was not a fan of the still-life genre, but it was popular with the public.

Ruskin (1819-1900) “…presciently identified what would become a hallmark of the modern age, one that would finally undermine the concept of mimesis itself: trompe l’oeil was a dangerously subversive art form that – by compelling us to contemplate object-ness, the conditions of its making, and the mechanics of human perception – profoundly shattered our faith in our ability to recognize truths.”

Mats 2009 Palm Fine Arts

Mats 2009 Palm Fine Arts

P. 19

About Parrhasias and Zeuxis.

“That an artist’s status grew in proportion to the rank of the person deceived became a topos as well…”

“…the intellectual or social status of the deceived viewer was taken as the measure of an artist’s rank.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s