Friday, February 11, 2005

Trompe l'oeil

3703 students: From the word-a-day service:

trompe l'oeil (tromp lye) noun

1. A style of painting in which objects are rendered in extremely realistic detail, giving an illusion of reality.

2. A painting, mural, etc. made in this style.

[From French, literally "fools the eye", from tromper (to deceive) + le (the) + oeil (eye).]

"Good trompe-l'oeil work is magical. It persuades you that the subject of the mural is real, that you are indeed seeing a view of smoking Mount St Helens, or a formal baroque garden glimpsed through a filigree-screen gateway, or a stretch of beach on a windy day."
Stephen Anderton; When We Practise to Deceive; The Times (London, UK); Jan 4, 2003.
There, in an extreme form, is the project of the "beautiful illusion" that William Carlos Williams rejects. WCW on Shakespeare: "He holds no mirror up to nature but with his imagination rivals nature's composition with his own."

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