CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Inganni ad arte: meraviglie del trompe-l’oeil dall’antichità al contemporaneo

Art and Illusions: masterpieces of trompe l'oeil from antiquity to the present Exhibition: 16 October 2009 - 24 January 2010

Information from the museum website, 29 September 2009

From ancient Greco-Roman mosaics and frescoes to European masterpieces of the 1300s to today, two hundred works from Italian and international museums and private collections tell the intriguing and spectacular history of trompe-l’oeil. The art of deceiving the eye. The theme of deception, illusion, and the eternal tension between fiction and reality is shown not only in painting, but in the richness it has always enjoyed: sculpture, intarsia, scagliola, pietre dure, porcelain, etc. Examples exhibited include faux armoirs, half-open, with books inside, wood intarsia of small Renaissance studios, scagliola tabletops and stones portraying seemingly prehensile objects, soup tureens and table furnishings in the shape of vegetables, anatomical and botanical wax models.

The exhibit also dedicates a significant amount of space to wall decorations and interiors (detached frescoes from Ancient Rome, where the theme of deception gave life to a school) and to Flemish artists and their innovations in the trompe-l’oeil genre. Among the many curious pieces is the famous cabinet called Scarabattolo (from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure), a painting of the late 1600s, by the Flemish artist Domenico Remps, that shows a collection of natural and artistic objects from the Medici family. After a long divorce, optical illusion has recently returned to the contemporary art scene, primarily in the United States, which is featured in its own space in the exhibition.