Vetusta Monumenta: Ancient Monuments


French term meaning "deceive the eye," applied to images so realistic that they may fool the viewer into thinking that the represented objects, scenes, textures, or points of view are real rather than images. The term is generally used to refer to Western art, generally to two-dimensional art or bas-relief. It was seen in ancient Greek art, refined by the ancient Romans, and was popular in the Renaissance and later in Europe and America. Effects include painted textures of wood or marble on walls or columns, realistic portrayals of views framed by painted faux windows, false frames from which the contents of a still life or portrait appear to extend into the viewer's space, and depictions of shelves or cupboards with various articles seen through half-open doors. In the late 20th century, the exteriors of entire buildings have been painted in trompe l'oeil (Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus)

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