Trompe l’oeil is an artistic device that has been employed since Roman times at least. Examples are to be seen in Pompeii. Translated from the French as ‘deceive the eye’, it is often used to trick the viewer into assuming that a painted 2-dimensional picture is a real 3-dimensional scene.
Trompe l’oeil works on the same principle, but is obviously 3-dimensional. The design of the piece stems from my interest in visual perception and the way that we interpret the world around us. Normally we combine the information entering our eyes with our previous experience of similar situations and use the combination of information to make an estimate of what is in front of us. Invariably this works well, otherwise the world would be a very dangerous place.
But when confronted with something out of the ordinary the eye can be tricked into seeing something that does not exist. Trompe l’oeil exploits this and in doing so alerts the viewer to the act of looking.
The head is based on one of the marble sculptures in grounds of Waddesdon Manor, which itself is a copy of the Apollo Belvedere, now in the Pio-Clementine Museum at the Vatican in Rome.
A 3D scan was used as the starting point, which was then manipulated in Rhino 3D software, the positive image then ‘morphed’ with a negative mirrored image. The final design was 3D printed and given a surface treatment to closely resemble Carrara marble.