(French, ‘deceives the eye’)
The term trompe l’oeil refers to a visual illusion
that tricks the viewer into seeing flat, painted detail as
While the technique appears in fine art from time to time
(figures crawling out of frames, insects that seem to be camped
out on the canvas), the term generally refers to decorative
painting such as murals and faux finishes.
For example, trompe l’oeil techniques can be used to make
an indoor room seem surrounded by garden trellises or to
make wooden surfaces look like stone.
We just installed a massive trompe l’oeil mural
in our board room. Now I feel as if I’m inside a gazebo
every time we meet.