Set of 3 Trompe l'Oeil Compositions

Set of Three Trompe l'oeil Compositions, attributed to Tomaso Chiuso, Rome, C.1770

Each comprising an illusionistic painted and drawn trompe l’oeil composition, depicting book pages, engravings, watercolours, drawings, scientific diagrams, maps, sheet music and lace and ribbons, arranged on a background of coloured paper, in original gilt wood frames.  One signed by Tomaso Chiuso and dated ‘in Roma 1770,’ the others attributed to the artist through their similarities to his signed work.

Tomaso Chiuso was an artist specializing in trompe l’oeil compositions, active in Rome in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Measurements: Each 22” x 15 ¾” (56 x 40 cm)

Our thanks to Sarah Bull, a lead conservator and restorer of art on paper wrote the following:

When viewing these extraordinary works of art it takes a while for the eye to adjust and appreciate what one is really seeing.  Initially the eye is deceived, believing they are collages, fragments of ephemeral material lying one upon another.  The skilled techniques used by the artist include facsimilies of very fine engravings, etching, roulette engravings written manuscripts, watercolours, also objects such as metal pins, old coins and textiles, etc.

It is difficult to extrapolate what the artist intended to deceive the eye, from the damage caused by natural degradation and a patina of age.  There is evidence of actual silverfish damage and worm holes juxtaposed with the Artist’s intentional paper losses and fugitive inks that have been allowed to bleed as if water damaged.

The dark brown iron gall ink, which is very acidic, has eaten through the paper in areas and created holes and losses.

The metallic pigment of the coins had corroded due to the acidic environment.  Did the Arts know this would happen one wonders?

The conservation of these pictures has involved removing the degraded brown paper patches from the verso; stabilising the paper and lining onto a matching antique laid paper to support the weak areas.



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