The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (20 October–22 January 2023) reveals how the modern masters who invented Cubism were influenced by time-honoured illusionary tactics. Pairing works by European trompe l’oeil painters from the 17th–19th centuries with Cubist paintings, the exhibition looks at how Picasso, Gris and Braque each drew on the attempts of their forebears to trick the viewer into thinking that the image they are looking at exists in three dimensions. Works by the 19th-century Irish-American painter William Michael Harnett, who specialised in still-life paintings of musical instruments such as Still Life – Violin and Music (1888), are presented alongside Georges Braque’s Violin and Palette (1909); both attempt to distort the viewer’s perception of depth. Another particularly striking pairing is that of Picasso’s Still Life with Compote and Glass (1914–15) with J.S. Bernard’s Still Life with Violin, Ewer and Bouquet of Flowers (1675), with both artists manipulating the perspective to give the illusion of objects tumbling off tables and out of the canvas. Find out more on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.
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