Fool the eye


Jo here with an ad before the programme. There's a new print edition of Dangerous Joy out now, if you happen to be wanting it. Now on to the fun stuff!

Last weekend I visited Dyrham Park, a 17th century house, and was delighted to find there a trompe l'oeil doorway. I love trompe l'oeil, which means "trick the eye," Trompedyrhamperhaps in part because I love realist painting. The realler the better!

Classic trompe l'oeil are mostly doorways, and you can see why. The illusion invites us to step over a threshold into another world. They rarely include clear people, but often a small animal to enhance the sense of life, and there's clever use of close, clear detail, as with the brush in this one. To work well, they also have to get the light right, and ideally work with the real light in the real room.

(If you're not sure what to trust, the painting begins just before the brush and dog. The doorway at the front and the corridor floor are real.)

They also have the benefit of expanding the sense of space of the real room, which we can now do much more easily with mirrors. High quality mirrors that last are a quite recent development. I found the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles a bit disappointing.

Here's a different kind of deception by use of types of wood. The arch in the back is actually flat.


This famous one is at Chatsworth. I've seen it there, and it really does trick the eye. Yes, it's all painted.  Tlviolin

Have you seen a trompe l'oeil anywhere?

Have a favorite?


Another very popular illusion in the past was on a ceiling, especially making it look open to the sky with gods or angels looking down. I think it's a lovely expansion of reality.
TlceThis one's from a monastery.

There's a page of fabulous TL here including a nifty ad from Honda. Could make me watch ads!

There's another great selection of older ones here.

I found this video of someone creating one. It takes 9 minutes to watch, but it does show how flat surfaces can be changed this way. I went away and came back every now and then. 🙂

If you have links to other great ones, share them. I just love trompe l'oeil!