Trompe l’oeil has always held a fascination for the public and artists alike. Even at the heights of abstraction and expressionism, artists still found themselves amazed when a drawing or painting could fool the eye into thinking it was looking at space. An anecdote from ancient Greece detailing a competition of skills between two still life painters reveals the long roots of this fascination. In this story Zeuxis and his rival Parrhasius engaged in a type of one upmanship to see who could create the most realistic painting. In the first round of their competition Zeuxis created a painting of grapes that were so true-to-life, birds were said to have flown down to peck at them. In response, Parrhasius spent many months working on his masterpiece. Finally, when it was complete, he invited Zeuxis to examine the painting which was covered with a tattered cloth. Much to his surprise, Zeuxis found when he tried to hold back the covering, that the cloth was none other than the painting itself.
The still life paintings produced by the Dutch are among some of the finest examples of this type of realism, but even today we can enjoy the surprise of trompe l’oeil in the works of street and sidewalk artists who create cavernous vistas that seem to open beneath our feet. Some humorous attempts to break away from the two dimensionality of the painted canvas were even undertaken in the 19th century with figures trying desperately to climb out of the frame around their canvas world.
These types of works have been entirely two-dimensional despite the tricks employed to make them appear otherwise. Artist Niki Firmin is pushing the frontiers of trompe l’oeil even further by integrating 3-D printed details into her work. A particularly striking piece that she has created in this way, entitled “Moodle”, shows a cow nuzzling the world just off of its canvas. The work began as a 2-D composition created entirely in colored pencil. However, Firmin found that she was not happy with the lack of depth.
“I had just about finished the piece in colored pencil and was pleased with the result, but was doing so much 2-D to 3-D work with the van Gogh pieces I have produced at work I just felt it was lacking depth, so decided I would try doodling the nose to get the piece that depth.”
She turned to her 3Doodler and, working with black and white PLA, began to create a nose for the cow that could extend just over the frame of the work. She then added some paint to blend the two areas of black and white together in a more subtle manner. She described her excitement when creating the final result:
“I was over the moon with the result! I had been looking to find ways to combine the 3Doodler with fine art and the final result blended in so well! I don’t think I’m going to be able to go back to 2-D anymore. 2D – 3D is the way forward for me, and I’m hoping it will make my work stand out in a very competitive market.”
This just goes to show one more example of how the 3Doodler can be used to create extremely unique works of art which were virtually impossible to create prior to its existence. What do you think about this amazing 3D painting? Discuss in the 3Doodler Creates Lifelike Art forum thread on 3DPB.com.