Trompe-l'œil in Mölndal

Painting a postcard of Virginia Woolf
Painting a postcard of Virginia Woolf

Trompe-l'œil [tråmp løj] is french for "deceive the eye", and is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions.

This weekend, I attended an interesting course at The Florence Academy of Art in Mölndal, Sweden. Deceiving the eye in art has been an art form since the Baroque, but perspectival illusionism dates much further back. The technique was sometimes used for making church ceilings appear to optically "open" the ceiling or dome to the heavens.

Fresco with trompe l'œil ceiling in Vienna, by Andrea Pozzo, 1703
Fresco with trompe l'œil ceiling in Vienna, by Andrea Pozzo, 1703
French street artist Patrick Commecy transforms boring city walls
French street artist Patrick Commecy transforms boring city walls

Today, you can often see examples in street art, where you are fooled into believing that there are holes in the ground and walls, or that people are sitting on their verandas when there is actually nobody there.

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So, for this weekend course, we painted small objects as naturalistic as possible. It was actually quite fun. We worked on wooden boards from Zecchi's in Florence, in oils.
The trick is in the perspective, light and shadow. I think I will use this as a sort of interval excercise between more precious projects. For the course, I painted a picture postcard of Virginia Woolf, which gave me a chance to work a little on portrait painting as well. For the next one, I think it is better to choose a simple object, as it probably will be a bit easier to manipulate. The result needs more work, but my son actually thought I had put up a postcard on the wall when I got home, so mission accomplished :)

Anyway, this was my first course at The Florence Academy in Sweden, and for me it was a great experience. Lovely teacher, great work facilities and ambience. This was important to me, as I will be a part-time student in the school from the fall.

October can not come soon enough!