Trompe l’oeil paintings have a long history within the realm of the visual arts. The French phrase translates to ‘trick the eye’ and it dates back to the Roman era, where it was used to create doors and windows within highly detailed murals. An ancient Greek story recounts a competition between the rivals Zeuxis and Parrhasius, the former painting grapes that appeared so tangible that birds flew down from the sky to peck at them. Parrhasius’ painting won the competition – Zeuxis asked to have the tattered curtains drawn aside to view the painting only to realise that the painting was of the curtains themselves.
De Scott Evans, A new variety try one, c.1890
oil on canvas, 30.4 x 25.4 cm, Columbus Museum of Art