We've learned that this style of trompe l'oeil (which translates from French to mean "fools the eye") is common in the province of Liguria, and especially within Genoa. Some art historians think this is tied to the notion that the citizens of Genoa have always been parsimonious (a theme we've heard many times), and that painting the facades of buildings was much cheaper than having a sculptor or mason create actual architectural ornamentation. Another theory is that the tradition originated during Genoa's dominance as a trading center: ship captains passing the coastline would decide to stop in Genoa's port, having viewed through their monocular what appeared to be elaborate stonework and gilded facades on the city's buildings. By the time they realized these were fake representations of Genoa's wealth, it was too late to turn back and they would conduct their business in the port anyway.
Whatever the origin and rationale, we've enjoyed the stunning deceptions!
|Two of the windows are painted depictions, along with all of the stone blocks or carvings.|