Trompe l’oeil

Trompe l’oeil translates as ‘trick of the eye’ and is the name given to a highly realistic painting technique designed to fool the viewer into thinking that the 2D surface in front of them is a 3D vista, recess, object or creature. Common in murals, Set Design and Street Art, this painting style has been known since antiquity with the artist Zeuxis being noted for painting such realistic grapes that they attracted hungry birds.

Renaissance Artists, commissioned for Church murals, used the technique to recreate architectural structures to give the illusion that their figures were in the building or breaking through to the heavens above and painters such as Magritte and Dali adapted the technique for their Surrealist works.

The mural is by John Pugh and appears on the facade of The Taylor Hall, California State University, Chico.