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Sep 2011

Pere Borrell del Caso's Escapando de la Crítica (Escaping Criticism): Trompe l'oeil and the Emerging Science of Neuroaesthetics

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Orthodontics, St George's Hospital and Medical School, London, England.

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2011;13(5):368-369. doi:

It has been said that half the work that is done in the world is to make things appear what they are not. Such deception in life may be contemptible, but masterful techniques of deception in art may have an altogether different effect—that of enchantment for the viewer.

Trompe l'oeil (French, literally “deceives the eye”), also known as visual illusion painting, is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery used to create a convincing optical illusion in order to trick the eye by depicting objects with 3-dimensional realism. Although the term has its origin in the Baroque period, its use dates back much further to classical Greek and Roman murals, such as those seen in Pompeii. A typical trompe l'oeil mural might depict a window or door opening into a room, the intention being to realistically achieve a sense of depth.

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