Trompe L’oeil


It is curious why some things stick in the mind, while others vanish like the passing night.  One of my favorite classes during college was art history, I had a sister as a teacher as I went to a Jesuit school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and she taught me well. Her passion was tangible. She passed away the next year, but I will never forget her for all that she gave me. She was an astounding educator.

During this class, I was taught about an approach to art known as trompe l’oeil.  It is essentially an illusion, an optical illusion.  Flat objects are painted to give the representation of something three dimensional. This technique has been used since prior to the Baroque period in murals during Greek and Roman times.


Felici Varini, Christian Berard of the famed Institut Guerlain, Cornelius Norbetus Gijsbrechts, and Andrea Pozzo are some important names that come to mind when recalling famous works of trompe l’oeil.  Of course, with anything else, there are many unpleasant and shoddy versions of this technique abounding.  Unfortunately, beautiful works wouldn’t be so beautiful otherwise.

The art of pleasing is the art of deception.

Luc de Clapiers


Attribution to Sybaratic, GBC Mag