Trompe-l’œil is french for “deceive the eye.” It is also the term for a variety of painting techniques used to trick viewers into seeing depth with the 2d medium.  In his essay “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Film and The (In)credulous Spectator,” Gunning places the arrival of cinema into historical context to make the point that it’s early audiences where already well versed in the shock of the new and optical tricks. In addition to such optical tricks in painting, Gunning points out that cinema arose in a time already populated by the magic theater of Georges Méliès.  In his own words, “rather than mistaking the image for reality, the spectator is astonished by its transformation through the new illusion of projected motion.  Far from credulity, it is the incredible nature of the illusion itself that renders the viewer speechless” (Gunning 1994, 118).

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