Trompe-l’oeil: All is Not as it Seems

Trompe-l’oeil is clever but, beyond immediate aesthetic effects and technical mastery, is really just the specific instance of a generalised principle of deception by which an artist fools our gullible brains into suspending their disbelief in the reality with which we are presented. The presence of a logical depth is in this way emphasised by it’s own absence, by an implicit suggestion that all experience, all perception is similarly flawed; that we may all be deeply and irrevocably deceived in all that we believe and hold to be true. Once we doubt anything, we must doubt everything; and so it ever was with truth.

Art: “Still life with books”, Cristoforo Monari, 1680s.

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