BAROQUE CEILING FRESCOES: ILLUSIONS OF REALITY AND THE REALITY OF ILLUSIONS
Baroque ceiling frescoes are unbelievable, breathtaking feats of artistry. They are notorious worldwide for their beauty, creativity, and especially their realistic appearances. Italian Jesuit brother and gifted artist Andrea Pozzo’s fresco on the ceiling of the Church of San Ignacio in Rome is widely considered to be the best of the best due to its scale, execution, and eerily lifelike figures that seem to float in mid–air. How exactly did Pozzo achieve this fantastic masterpiece that tricks its audiences into believing what they see, although it cannot possibly be true? Five special artistic techniques were implemented in order to aid in making this illusion of reality so successfully convincing: trompe l’oeil, foreshortening, di sotto en su, quadratura, and anamorphosis; these are the very techniques that Pozzo employed during his creative process. Additionally, the issue of San Ignacio’s ceiling being barrel-vaulted as opposed to being flat forced Pozzo to take further measures to ensure that the three-dimensional illusory effect of the ceiling fresco was properly achieved. The approach he took to solve this problem was original and brilliant, yet to everyone else but Pozzo is—to a certain degree—mysterious and elusive. By recreating this unique process as the visual component of my thesis project, I aim to enlighten others who are as curious about this interesting topic of Art History as I am.
Sector C: Art Practice & Technology
Advisers: Lothar Haselberger (ARTH) | Nick Vidnovic (FNAR)