What is trompe l'oeil ?
Trompe l'oeil is the artistic ability to depict an object so exactly as to make it
appear real. A heightened form of illusionism, the art of trompe l'oeil
flourished from the Renaissance onward. The discovery of perspective in
fifteenth-century Italy and advancements in the science of optics in the
seventeenth-century Netherlands enabled artists to render objects and
spaces with eye-fooling exactitude. Both witty and serious, trompe l'oeil is a
game artists play with spectators to raise questions about the nature of art
Famous American trompe l'oeil artists of the past are Charles Willson Peale,
William Harnett, and John Frederick Peto.
Trompe l'oeil is practiced all over the world in the form of hand-painted wall
murals. These murals use many trompe l'oeil techniques to make the viewer
feel as if the mural is real, although trompe l'oeil wall murals are usually
somewhat crude due to their size and the fact that they are painted on a wall.
In fine art trompe l'oeil, the artists paints on a canvas in a studio, which allows
much more refinement of the painting and the techniques that make up
trompe l'oeil. France probably has the most fine art trompe l'oeil artists of
any country. Bernard Scholl is one of the finest of these artists, having won
many prestigious medals and awards, most importantly the Salon des
Artistes Français Médaille d'Or This Gold Medal by the most prestigious
juried art show in France was presented to him after only 6 years of painting
trompe l'oeil. It normally takes 15 to 20 years before an artist can be
awarded this medal, ample evidence of the artist's skill.