The inspiration in the trompe l’oeils of L’Atelier de Santi results in open doors with a frame from an inside view. In others cases a frame with a view to the outside. Like this case, “Panorámica del Berrocal”, oil on panel, where the frame is painted and is imitating a silver frame.
I take the opportunity to focus the issue of the publication a quote from Vargas Llosa from his book of essays The truth about lies (2016). More specifically, it is found in the chapter dedicated to El Gatopardo where he makes a successful literary critic. “In each of these pictures there is a lively sensory animation, a sizzle of colors, smells, flavors, shapes, ideas and emotions so attractively presented that they pounce on us from the inert page and drag us into their verbal spell.” I find in this quote an appropriate metaphor for what I am looking for and it is the inspiration in the trompe l’oeil of El Atelier de Santi.
The inspiration in the trompe l’oeils and the Masters
In some recent publication, “Ethnology in Trompe l’oeil ….”, I have explained where the inspiration in trompe l’oeil I show on this L’Atelier de Santi website comes from. But that, ethnology, is one of the influences, and the main motivation is in the creation of that fiction-reality. The very activity of creating the most realistic representation of a set of ideas in a composition is inspiring and challenging. For me it is like a magic where I can expand on drawing and painting. And at the same time get into virtual conversation with the Masters I admire.
This virtual communication is evident in cases of trompe l’oeil where I name the referring Master in the title, for example “The Zurbarán’s bookcase”. Therefore it is for me an occasion to deepen the art of the Master. And also to have a silent but profound conversation about his motivations. For in the creation of these works I study and trace the master’s works and their representations in search of motifs and models for the final composition. I observe many works and many motifs and representations, and I select the most suitable ones for the object of the last construction of the work. Simultaneously I learn circumstances from the author’s life, and I observe details of the work unknown to me up to that moment. Something, the latter, that enriches the knowledge about the author and increases the admiration he produces for me both for his life and his artistic work. It is a delight that inspires by itself, and also increases the self-esteem of those who immerse themselves in their study, since they feel like a favorite student.
The author’s daily inspiration
Other times the inspiration in the trompe l’oeil is determined by the vital or emotional moment. And I am not referring to the influence of a more or less temporary fashion, but to more specific experiences. The knowledge of someone, a passage from a book, the discovery of some place, and even a specific memory, can be the triggers of the initial idea. It is in the development of this initial idea that creativity plays its most important role. And this close inspiration is what gives the work greater empathy with the author, and therefore more complicity. And why do I say complicity? Because it is what the author and the model need to create a real, credible fiction, and also in the case of trompe-l’oeils, an illusory vision.
Projection of skills
And the drawing is, clearly, a spur in the composition of the work. It is a sobering challenge for me always in the process of making a trompe l’oeil. In the course of the sketch and its embedding, the initial inspiration in the trompe l’oeil is modeled through the line and the shadow. In some cases the initial idea hardly changes, but in others, depending on the final deception-effect and the real-fiction that you want to insinuate, there are modifications. It may be the substitution of models for others more suitable for that purpose, or the incorporation of others in addition, and even invented motifs that may accompany the set.
Drawing, or “disegno” that was said in Renaissance Italy, is a facet in the art of painting that especially shines for me. Because original design of any classic work, in pencil, chalk, charcoal or any more humble and modest material, represents the first pulse of life in the final work. Its apparent monochrome hides in the rough the initial author’s idea, the spark of light that will later spread across the painted surface. In other words, the author’s true statement of intent regarding the final work. Reason why in many cases these sketches have become icons within the history of art.