Culture Historian Ivan Gaskell to visit TMA for Masters Series

Eye On Art  |  02/04/2020 9:00 am

Culture historian Ivan Gaskell will take part in the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) Masters Series Thursday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Peristyle. The event is free to the public.

Gaskell, professor of cultural history at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, will look at some of the ways in which artists have depicted ordinary things, including those that constitute still life, so as to trick the beholder's eyes into thinking those very items are present.

In his lecture, “Still Life, Trompe l’oeil, and Vanity,” Gaskell answers this question: "Is that thing before me a painting, or is it really there?” Contrary to earlier discussions of “trompe l'oeil” (fooling the eye), this lecture suggests that if the beholder remains unaware that the illusion is just that — an illusion — the painter has failed.

Drawing on examples from centuries of European and North American art, this lecture demonstrates that if trompe l'oeil painters are to receive credit for their artistry and skill, what at first seems to be a painterly deception must be seen for what it is: an artwork, not reality.

This Masters Series event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends. Since 2011, the TMA Masters Series has brought world-renowned artists, scholars, musicians and other experts in their fields to share their knowledge and talents in the Museum’s Peristyle. The series is sponsored by the TMA Ambassadors.