Monday, June 1, 2015

Trompe L’Oeil and the Brain

Recently I received several questions about Trompe l’oeil, so I decided to revisit that topic. Easy to do because it’s a favorite of mine. Trompe l’oeil is a French expression meaning ‘trick the eye.’ It refers to an art form or decorating technique designed to ‘trick’ or deceive the eye into thinking that a depicted object is three dimensional. (Trompe means ‘trick’ and ‘oeil’ means eye.)

English speaking individuals sometimes find it hard to prounounce because the word oeil involves two sounds which are not usually prounounced together in English. The ‘oe’ letters form one sound, which moves into the ‘i’. I remember it by thinking of the Yiddish expression ‘oy vay.’ The French oeil sounds a bit like the Yiddish ‘oy.’ So the expression would sound something like ‘tromp loy.’ And, yes, the French phrase is talking about eye, singular. (The word for ‘eyes’ in French is yeux.) Okay, so what does Trompe l’oeil describe? More tomorrow.

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