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Trompe l'oeil - The Art

 

trompe-l-oeil-1.jpg          What is Trompe l'oeil Art

 

Trompe l'oeil is derived from the French meaning “ to fool the eye” and is a form of art that produces extremely realistic images that create an optical illusion by making them seem to be three dimensions. There is an ancient Greek story about a contest between to rival painters about 464 BC that tells about a still life painting that seemed so real that birds were reported to have pecked at the grapes that he had painted. Thinking he would surely win, he reportedly ask the other competitor to pull back the curtain to view his piece of art and found out that the curtain was actually the painting so he had to admit to losing this contest.

 

Trompe l'oeil ( also spelled with a hyphen in the French version Trompe-l'oeil) has been used on ceilings to create the illusion that the area below is greater than it really is to more novelty images such as a person appearing to be climbing out of a painting. This art form has long been used to create set designs creating the illusion of a much larger or deeper space that the actual stage is. I'm sure if you have seen the classic 1954 movie “Singin in the Rain” you will remember the scene where he appears to be running up a wall? In reality the wall is a large trompe l'oeil mural. Another example of how TV uses this art form is the infamous “Road Runner” cartoons where Wile E. Coyote paints a tunnel on a rock wall and the Road Runner runs right thru it but poor Wile E. Coyote never seems to make it. Don't feel bad if you have every been fooled by a Trompe l'oeil painting because you are in good company. It is reported that George Washington was fooled by a painting of someone descending a stairway. He was reported to have bowed to the figure before he realized that it was only a painting.

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Here are 3 very basic steps to do a Trompe l'oeil wall mural that may explain the mystery behind this style of art. First it's best to start out with a lighter background making sure your wall has a completely dried coat of primer on it. Next, paint the background of the trompe l'oeil mural first and layer the other images on top. Correct shadowing is very important to help create a more realistic image. The third step is to add a fine outline on the foreground images with a darker color to bring out the edges. With a little patience and practice you will be able to create your own amazing Trompe l'oeil masterpieces.

 

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