The community room was packed with visitors for the annual meeting of the Friends of William Jeanes Memorial Library March 7. The main attraction for the evening was Steve Wills, coordinator of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Education Resource Center, who delivered a lecture titled “Your Cheatin’ Art.”
Using artists not generally in the public eye as examples, Wills addressed three basic question regarding painting and perspective: What is real? What is hidden? What is that?
The “What Is Real?” segment dealt with trompe l’oeil, a French term meaning “deceive the eye,” which refers to realistic imagery in a three-dimensional perspective. In “Staircase Group” of 1795, for example, the Philadelphian artist Charles Willson Peale creats the look of realism by putting a door frame around the painting and the step jutting outside of the bottom of it.
In “What Is Hidden?” Wills presented a selection of paintings with subtle details,