Rules of Trompe L'oeil

The most inflexible rule for painters of trompe l'oeil is that the object represented must 'appear' to be 'actual size'. Trompe l'oeil painting traditionally demands the suppression of the brush stroke (the artists 'signature', so to speak) in favor of rendering of images. Some art oficianados claim that Trompe l'oeil techniques are only used to depict inanimate or stationary objects, while in other circles Trompe l'oeil refers to a certain type of 'realism' found in this type of painting itself, regardless of whether the 'objects' depicted are inanimate or not (i.e. people). When well executed, it is difficult for the viewer to discern the real from the painted. In traditonal trompe l'oeil, animate objects, plant life, animals, and landscapes are generally considered inappropriate because the viewer would expect the subject to move, thus sabotaging the painted deception. In my experience this is not the case; the illusion always seems to work regardless of subject matter

Six Basic Categories of Trompe L'oeil

In Fine Art:

1. Trompe L'oeil murals: are generally large scale trompe l'oeil, traditionally combining three dimensional architectural elements with 
2. Trompe l'Oeil paintings: fine art still life incorporating trompe l'oeil techniques.
3. Trompe l'Oeil marquetry: a technique creating the look of inlaid wood.

In Architecture:

4. Faux moldings: details such as moldings, columns, and niches.
5. Grisalle: French for "shades of gray", Ornamentation.
6. Polychrome ornaments: Same as grisalle but using colors.

 continued     1   2   3

Copyright Eric Jonsson   1985-2022.   All rights reserved.

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A Brief History of Trompe L'oeil  p.2
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