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Monday, March 2, 2009


Trompe-l'oeil or that which deceives the eye. A term of a particular genre of art, where illusion is practiced

The best single volume work in this I know of is Illusion in Art: Trompe L'Oeil: a History of Pictorial Illusionism by Marie-Louise D'Otrange Mastai.
Publisher: Abaris Books Date Published: 1976 ISBN-13: 9780913870037 ISBN: 091387003X

In this volume on page 31 from the encautic portraits from the second century A.D. which were discovered at Faiyum, Egypt, there is a remarkable young woman’s portrait – shown from Staatliche Museen. Her exquisite and serene expression is purposely other worldly and yet present. This protrait is presented as an example by madam D'Otrange Mastai as ancient trompe-l'oeil.

This striking woman looks as if she could be a regal monarch or simply a lovely lady of the bourgeoisie and as modern yet timeless as can be.

Trompe-l’oeil is a way to show any number of things about persons, things, reality in general and especially qualities about such things. Qualities such as pain and dignity and joy and bliss . . . the enumeration goes on.

The modern inheritors of this genre d'art have continued in the various veins mentioned to this day. Importantly it is a way to show unrivaled freedom of expression for the internals that are the real subject of art. Refreshingly, I personally, do not find it existentialist in the nihilist sense, but instead it breathes life. I really must exclude some forms from that last statement which are simply exercises in illusion for the sake of illusion - Dali and his watch, in my humble opinion, for instance. I also believe it is a principle form of the expression of the emerging world of those freed from ancient chains.

Very importantly it is closely associated with a good portion of the dreamscapes representative of certain neo-modern music forms. Places where the mind must be free.

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