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Lectures and Talks

Masters Series Lecture: Ivan Gaskell, Still Life, Trompe l'oeil, and Vanity

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 • 6:00 pm

"Is that thing before me a painting, or is it really there?" In this lecture, Ivan Gaskell (Professor of Cultural History, Bard Graduate Center, New York City) looks at some of the ways in which artists have depicted ordinary things--including those that constitute still life--so as to trick the beholder's eyes into thinking that those very items are present. Contrary to earlier discussions of trompe l'oeil (fooling the eye), this lecture suggests that if the beholder remains unaware that the illusion is just that--an illusion--the painter has failed. Drawing on examples from centuries of European and North American art, this lecture demonstrates that if trompe l'oeil painters are to receive credit for their artistry and skill, what at first seems to be a painterly deception must be seen for what it is: an artwork, not reality. A book signing will follow the lecture outside of the TMA Store. This Master Series Lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cezanne, Manet & Friends.


The Masters Series is supported in part by the TMA Ambassadors.