tromps l'oeil


Eurydice’s tomb

Vergina, Greece

~369 BCE

The unusual Tomb of Eurydike lies slightly east of the Rhomaios Tomb. This double-chambered, barrel-vaulted structure, whose facade has yet to be revealed, is plastered with off-white mortar.

One of the short sides of the burial chamber is presented in trompe-l'oeil as a facade with a door and two windows framed by four Ionic half-columns, which support an Ionic three-tiered entablature and a frieze decorated with white palmettes.

A unique find is the marble throne with its richly carved and painted ornamentation; in particular, the back of the throne, which depicts Pluto and Persephone riding on a quadriga, is truly outstanding.

The wealth of this tomb, which had been plundered in antiquity, indicates a royal burial; on the basis of chronological data, it is attributed to Philip’s mother Eurydike, inscribed dedications of whom have been found in the temple of Eukleia at Aigai.


“In some ways, artist Alexa Meade is a traditional figure painter. But she works on an unusual canvas: the actual human body. And she takes a classical concept — trompe l'oeil, the art of making a two-dimensional representation look three-dimensional — and turns it on its head. Her aim is to do the opposite, to collapse depth and make her living models into flat pictures.”

-PBS NewsHour

If these paintings will seem normal to you, watch them better. Yep. You could try to guess what makes these images so extraordinary, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be wrong. At first look, you might think that the style Alexa Meade, artist from Los Angeles, (brushstrokes thick and heavy, intense colors, lights and shadows exaggerated) is quite simple, even traditional. 

But only until you realize that his painting breathes for real! Yes, Alexa Meade literally paints people ! 

The artist uses acrylic paints on human skin and creates his works of body art in such a way that the subject is two-dimensional, flat images against a background expressionist. 

Impressive, amazing and astonishing. I love her works! Totally!!

Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts - Quodlibet


oil on canvas

Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

in black

oh devious me, void of heart
& purely foul demeanor!

i have commissioned a portrait
of the most vile of humanity,

i have created a throne
of hollow hymns,
of fluting bone,
for the subject
of evil perversity
to thereupon pose,

i have allowed myself
the pleasure
of sleeping with each
of his succubi (

gods, the wondrous violence!

) to collect all
of their dark fluids
for our paint.

i have shattered
every source of illumination
just to give shards
& bloody dust
to a hopeless atmosphere -

a perfect, strangling blackness
for the canvas background.


there is no painting.

there is no art here!

all that i have framed is you,
& (

while you were enthralled
by the trompe l'oeil

) i have already

it hangs,
in my empty basement.

Jan van Kessel the Elder - Festoon, masks and rosettes made of shells 


oil on copper

Frits Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris