rome, roma, trinita, condottii, chapel, church

A Moment of Honesty

Responsible designers are truthful about the materials they engage. A good designer should amuse, delight, and surprise those who experience their work through honesty – heightened by virtuosity.

It may seem incongruous, but in this context I turn to the art of trompe l’oeil, literally ‘fooling the eye’. This art form – usually found in architectural fresco painting – creates a false image or environment, but winks at the viewer with open hints that an artist is at play. When it is done well, as it is in Rome’s Santissima Trinita dei Spagnoli (hidden just below the Spanish Steps), the experience can be utterly transportive. Here, the faux marble and enhanced stucco interior is just as enchanting for being painted as it is in its ability to make us forget that there is not one bit of actual stone inside. Apparently a little gold leafing here and there doesn’t hurt either…

Take a look for yourself: as you approach that majestic outdoor staircase from the Via dei Condotti, this little chapel is worth a detour.

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