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Optical Illusion in Fine Art – A Victorian Trompe-l’œil Example
Do you see what I see? The boy thinks he is escaping from a picture frame? Does he not realize that he is leaping from a Trompe-l’œil frame? Does he not know that such a frame is an optical illusion – the frame is part of the painting and is designed to fit seamlessly into an actual picture frame? And has he not given thought as to how the 3-dimensational Trompe-l’œil design enhances him?
He might also be unhappy that the #Trompe-l’œil frame is without meaningful decorations or symbols that would explain who he is and why he is there. If so, then maybe he is merely looking for his artist and artisan to inform them that he wants an elaborate frame, one that sets him apart from other paintings. I think he will be surprised to find that the Trompe-l’œil frame was intentionally designed to reflect his simplistic appearance, and at a time when the #Victorian era was changing.
Or does he recognize that the painting’s name and date, #Escaping Criticism, 1874, suggest “the boundary between the painted and the physical world might be pierced, and the personification of grubby realism might escape the strictures of 19th-century critics.”
The reality is that even a optical illusion has borders which limit all paintings from their outside surroundings and draws a spectator’s attention. Our boy can look all he wants, but he is not going anywhere.
Painting by Pere Borrell del Caso (1835-1910), Escaping criticism, 1874, in Trompe-l’œil painted frame.
For more information, visit this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trompe-l%27œil
For more great information and history, check out this great blog post! https://theframeblog.com/2016/06/09/how-artists-have-used-the-frame-in-the-past-how-they-can-use-it-now/