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Does any-one know what one calls a drawing that can be interpreted in (usually) two different ways? I'm editing some seventeenth century material and the device of drawing a picture that has two forms depending on how one looks at it was a common trick illusion. A typical example is a drawing when viewed one way seems to depict a man; when viewed another it depicts a devil - very seventeenth century.





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calls a drawing that can be interpreted in (usually) two different ways?

Lucy,
I don't know how far back the practice originated but certainly in Victorian times, gentlemen (well supposedly) would often show "Butterflies" to their male friends. These were painted on transparent butterfly shaped paper to make pretty patterns, but when the wings were folded over each other they made another picture, usually pornographic. I have seen more modern examples of triptych or polyptych (to use a word I learnt here recently) art, sometimes used in advertising flyers, which make one picture folded and a completely different one unfolded. I'm not sure if the phrase "ambiguous" would apply to this type of art as each picture is specific (and in some cases, explicit ).

Rod


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How about trompe d'oeil? It originally meant "photographic reality" but seems to have transmuted to mean any picture which is an illusion.



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How about trompe d'oeil? It originally meant "photographic reality" but seems to have transmuted to mean any picture which is an illusion.


CK. I thought it was the other way round. "Trompe d'oeil" means "to deceive the eye", hence an illusion. It is most often used now (in my experience anyway) to mean photographic reality. For example the painting of an elaborate cornice on a flat surface.

For one of my favourite examples of trompe d'oeil, if only for the size, look at http://www.boucherbrothers.com/Fontainebleau_Hilton_hotel_resort.htm which is the whole wing of a hotel.

Rod


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I've seen both trompe d'oeil and trompe l'oeil . Can any connaisseurs explain why there are two forms and - are both correct?


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both trompe d'oeil and trompe l'oeil

I have also seen both used interchangeably. However I believe that only "trompe l'oeil" is correct (but am quite willing to be corrected). The verb "tromper" = to deceive and is transitive. You deceive someone, or in this case "the eye"="l'oeil", not "deceive of the eye"="d'oeil". Tromper is often used in the reflexive form "se tromper" = "to deceive oneself" or to be wrong about and then the thing one is wrong about takes "de". "se tromper de route"="to take the wrong road". "tromperie d'oeil"="deception of the eye" might be ok.

Also Larousse online only has the "trompe l'oeil" form.

Rod (who is quite capable of deceiving himself)

PS. Just remembered that "trompe" is also an elephant's trunk, and from the endless song "Un elephant ca trompe, ca trompe" it must also mean trumpet. There must be a pun in there somewhere with "ca trompe"="se trompe".

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Anamorfosi = ???
is a way of drawing something -according to the laws of perspective - from a very strange angle of view, so that it usually difficult to guess what the subject is, unless by looking at the picture from a similar angle
Holbein was famous for this kind of picture. Anyway, I imagine that my explanations are very poor, since a picture is worth a thousand words...Maybe you can try to find some example of that by a search in the web.


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LUCY--what a delight to see you back! Wish I had your answer, but I've only seen them as "illusions". My dear, I hope you can be with us more often in the future--you're neat.

B96--excellent link. I saw a Dali painting that I found rather disturbing--but then most of his are.

Rod--(good heavens, just now you came out, inadvertently, to be Roc!) Fascinating, about the butterflies! (Got any you can send me?) And, the hotel--did you mean the last picture? I couldn't detect anything strange about the others.

AnnaS., I learned it as trompe l'oeil: fool THE eye, and when I put trompe d'oeil (that would be fool OF eye, not very sensical.) into tsuwm's x-refer, it gave me trompe l'oeil. So I guess trompe d'oeil is an English
(American?) bastardization of trompe l'oeil.




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the hotel--did you mean the last picture?

Jackie,
Yes. I did have some other links a month ago back. A colleague's daughter was asking about trompe l'oeil and I looked it out then, but I can't find the better one now. I will google for some butterflies and post if I find, so you can explain them to me .

Rod


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