Meet the new face of decorative illusion, Faux Museum, makers of the innovative Pop-Up Art Frames. Lush French decorative arts are timeless, so we especially like the Parisienne Pop-Up Art Frame ($9-$28). This frame mimics dramatic golden frames of Louis XVI's Palace of Versailles in high definition, photo-real trompe-l'œil (lit. trickery of the eye). Eco-friendly matte board construction starts flat and pops up to create a deep, broad structure that is as fun to assemble as it is to look at; check the adorable Pop-Up Art Frame assembly video. We're cultivating the image of extravagance (we can't afford the reality), and The Pop-Up Art Frame lets us frame our art photos, and keepsakes like the Renaissance masters. The J. Paul Getty Museum store offers these decadent frames too if you want to help the arts get back on their feet while you're getting decadent.
Want more info on Trompe l'oeil? Check it out... Because Trompe l'oeil murals still exist all over the world, they are showcased everyday, but while most appreciate their illusion as novelty, they do not recognize the history behind this spectacular art form. Here's the skinny. Trompe l'oeil can be dated back to 400 BC from a Greek story by Pliny the Elder recounting the battle of competing artists, Zeuxis and Parrhasius. From there, the Romans in the volcano-preserved civilization of Pompeii c. 79 AD exhibited tromp l'oeil artwork where the illusionist architectural framework in the House of Vettii is most relevant. In The Tromp l'oeil in History, University of Trento professsor Luigi Belloni outlines a brief history from the ancient to the 20th century uses in opera staging. Fooling the Eye: Trompe l'oeil at the Springfield Museum offers another review of the subject that sticks strictly to painting art history and the revival of naturalism in the Renaissance.
Like punk rock, trompe l'oeil is not dead. It has such a strong following that Lodi, Italy holds an annual Trompe l'oeil Festival in its celebration. As to be expected, tromp l'oeil's existence is most vivacious in the museum world; the National Gallery of Art in Washington had an excellent exhibition in 2002 and 2003 on the topic called Deceptions and Illustions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'oeil Painting. If we wanted to make the schlep, the Museum of Tromp-l'oeil in Dordogne, France proudly displays artful optical illusions in their full European grandeur.
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