This great picture just shows how we can all be fooled at first glance. Of course once we really take a good look it is pretty obvious that it is just an excellent mural. Find out how it was done over at Lushome.com
Going up the avenue George V to the Champs-Elysees , the Paris pedestrian has reason to be surprised. From afar he sees a troubled perspective, is the building melting or is it an optical illusion, a reflection, or perhaps even a mirage? Actually the whole building is covered with a canvas painting of trompe o'loeil.
Trompe-l’œil, which can also be spelled without the hyphen in English as trompe l’oeil, (French for deceive the eye) is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture.
Although the phrase has its origin in the Baroque period, when it refers to perspectival illusionism, use of trompe-l’œil dates back much further. It was (and is) often employed in murals. Instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance in Pompeii. A typical trompe-l’œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room.
A version of an oft-told ancient Greek story concerns a contest between two renowned painters. Zeuxis (born around 464 BC) produced a still life painting so convincing, that birds flew down from the sky to peck at the painted grapes. In order to judge his rival Parrhasius’s painting, Parrhasius asked Zeuxis to pull back a pair of very tattered curtains in his study. When Zeuxis tried, he was unable to do so as the curtains were Parrhasius’s painting, making Parrhasius the winner.
With the superior understanding of perspective drawing achieved in the Renaissance, Italian painters of the late Quattrocento such as Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506) and Melozzo da Forlì (1438–1494), began painting illusionistic ceiling paintings, generally in fresco, that employed perspective and techniques such as foreshortening in order to give the impression of greater space to the viewer below. This type of trompe l’œil illusionism as specifically applied to ceiling paintings is known as di sotto in sù, meaning from below, upward in Italian. The elements above the viewer are rendered as if viewed from true vanishing point perspective. Well-known examples are the Camera degli Sposi in Mantua and Antonio da Correggio’s (1489–1534) Assumption of the Virgin in the Duomo of Parma. Similarly, Vittorio Carpaccio (1460–1525) and Jacopo de’ Barbari (c.1440–before 1516) added small trompe-l’œil features to their paintings, playfully exploring the boundary between image and reality. For example, a fly might appear to be sitting on the painting’s frame, or a curtain might appear to partly conceal the painting, a piece of paper might appear to be attached to a board, or a person might appear to be climbing out of the painting altogether—all in reference to the contest of Zeuxis and Parrhasius. In a 1964 seminar, the psychoanalyst and theorist Jacques Lacan (1901–1981) observed that the myth of the two painters reveals an interesting aspect of human cognition. While animals are attracted to superficial appearances, humans are enticed by the idea of that which is hidden.
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