Illusion, Delusion, Collusion, and Perceptual Paradox (page 3)
Illusion, Delusion, Collusion, and Perceptual Paradox
Fig.6.9 Cornelis Gijsbrechts, Easel.
226 × 123 cm. (ca. 1670). Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.
There are three sorts of trompe l'œil objects and
settings: (a) cutouts, (b) hearth screens, and (c) objects painted on odd surfaces.
Chantourné (literally, cutout), is a trompe l'œil representation
designed to stand away from a wall. An example is Cornelis Gijsbrechts's (Figure
The effectiveness of chantourné paintings
relies on an impression of solidity derived from the shadows they cast on
the walls behind them. Often, as in the case of Easel the chantourné
includes a painting, usually a skillfully illusionistic one. The hearth screen,
devant de cheminée, a French invention, was quite popular
during the late seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. This type of painting
fools the eye because we do not expect a screen there, and whatever is represented
is mundane and does not violate our expectations regarding what we might find
in an unused hearth during the summer. The objects are strongly illuminated
in the foreground and quite dim in the background, where the niche of the
hearth casts a shadow. Even Jean-Baptiste Chardin painted one (Figure 6.10).
If the hearth screen is designed to disguise the existence of the surface
on which it is painted, there is a similar trompe l'œil effect
that can be obtained by painting on a surface that is an unlikely candidate
to play such a role. An example is van der Vaart's Painted Violin (Figure
Fig.6.10 Jean-Baptiste Chardin, The White Tablecloth
(1737). Shows devant de cheminée. The Art Institute of Chicago
Fig.6.11 van der Vaart (attrib.), Painted Violin (late
seventeenth or early eighteenth century). Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth,
We finally come to the best-known class of trompe l'œil
paintings - the several types of display boards. For example: Figure 6.12, the
hunting trophy; Figure 6.13, the quod libet (what you will), which
eventually evolves into the letter-rack; Figure 6.14, the vide poche (pocket
emptier); and Figure 6.15 , the poster board.
Fig.6.12 Jacopo de'Barbari, Dead Partridge (1504). Alte
Fig.6.13 Edward Collier, Quod Libet (1701). Victoria
and Albert Museum, London.
Fig.6.14 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Still Life (1655).
Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildended Künste, Vienna
Fig.6.15 Trompe l' il (early nineteenth century). Nuremberg
8 See also Antonio Forbora, The Artist's Easel
(1686), Musée Calvert, Avignon.