Thing #4: The backdrop

Here we are on day 4 of a virtual work-week spent in Liguria. A weekend in Varazze fueled me with material, but next week I’ll get back to Milanese business as usual. Back to winter and real life in Italy. But for now, let the fantasy continue…

Time is short today, and too many words can be cumbersome when the eyes and the brain want to be left to their own devices. So I leave you with these images of the painted walls of Varazze in which almost every thing which appears to be in relief is nothing but an illusion. Everywhere you look the real and the unreal bump into each other, giving the whole place the feel of a backdrop to an ancient and ongoing drama in which you, walking along, become a modern day player.

Even where two properties abut, the illusion is intact.


The truck is real, but just barely.


Even the street number is part of the game.


From ground to sky—trickery.


The electrical chords play the straight man.


"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

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5 Responses to Thing #4: The backdrop

  1. ron says:

    amazing hand skills. clearly, whoever painted these illusions knows light and shadow. fantastic.

  2. bagnidilucca says:

    I love these buildings. I hope the current residents keep up the tradition.

    • Charlotte says:

      We saw new buildings under construction that were already being painted in the same style. So I think it’s going to last…a few years ago, when I was working at the ad agency in Portland, Oregon, we did a project for Nike involving creating a trompe l’oeil facade for their construction site. The painters we hired were from Italy…so I know it’s an art form that’s alive and well.

  3. Pingback: Closed/Week in review—5 days in Liguria | The Daily Cure

  4. Neal says:

    How cool is that? I remember learning in an art history class that the ancient Romans would create this same trompe l’oeil effect on their frescoed walls. I wonder if the tradition carried down? 🙂 I like the juxtaposition in a lot of these photos. Especially the one of the little “camion”.

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