If you’ve visited this site before, you may remember a wonderful Trompe-L’Oeil painting of a boy escaping through a window, by a Spanish artist called Del Caso.
You can see that painting this winter, if you have a chance to be in Florence, Italy. It will be in an exhibition called Art and Illusion, Masterpieces of Trompe L’oeil from Antiquity to the Present Day. It’s on at the Palazzo Strozzi from October 16th 2009 to Jan 24th 2010. If you have a chance to go, I’d recommend booking a ticket in advance if possible. Florence tends to be packed all year, and queues can be endless. (unless you go just before Christmas!).
(This image may be subject to copyright. I try only to use images on this site that you can freely download and use for non-commercial purposes. However in this case it may only be fair use to reproduce the image in publicity for the exhibition)
Amazingly, this is not a painting! It’s a picture made of a mosaic of tiny slivers of inlaid stone. It was done about four hundred years ago by Flemish artist Domenico Remps, and usually it lives in a small institution in Florence called the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
The subject is a so-called cabinet of curiosities. These were little display collections of natural and artistic curiosities, placed in specially made cabinets by wealthy collectors between four and three hundred years ago. They went out of fashion as collections of such things became too large and specialised for a small cabinet, but they are the ancestors of today’s museums.
Trompe L’oeil is french for Trick the Eye. The idea of pictures in this style is to be so realistic that, ideally, viewers might be deceived into not realising that they were looking at a picture rather than the real thing.