Mural Glossary

A small glossary of mural terminology

Anamorphosis: is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. There are two main types of anamorphosis: Perspective (oblique) and Mirror (catoptric).

Cartellino: or “little note”. Some bit of paper apparently stuck on to the painting for effect.

Chantourné: or cut-out. A painting cut out to increase the effect of realness.

Grisaille: comes from the french for grey \”gris\”: (1) a method of painting in grey monochrome, often to imitate sculpture; (2) a painting or stained-glass window of this kind. In Britain, architectural grisailles, such as ashlar blocking, were famously painted in beer!

Marouflage: the painting on paper or canvas is then fixed to the wall, either permanently with glue (or removable with baton fixings) so you can move house and take your mural with you. And I can paint it in the studio without getting the way of your household..

Mural: a painting fixed on a wall, or painted directly on to a wall. From Latin \”murus\” for wall.

Muralist: someone who paints the above, a harmless drudge.

Quodlibet: a collection of familiar objects assembled in a painting to look real, from Latin \”something popular\”.

Substrate: the actual material of the wall that is painted, e.g. plaster, brick, wallpaper, board, etc..

Trompe l’œil: a still-life painting, etc. designed to give an illusion of reality. From the french \”deceives the eye\”.
A term first coined by the brilliant 18th century illusionary artist Claude Boilly. There is an example of one of his oil paintings made to look like a print in the National Gallery, London.
The earliest known citation of this kind of painted realism is from Pliny\’s account of the 5th century BC contest between two Greek painters: Zeuxis and Parrhasios. Zeuxis painted some grapes so lifelike that passing birds tried to peck at them. He then asked Parrhasios to uncover his painting so they could judge it. Parrhasios replied that the drapes were his picture, and won the competition by deceiving the great deceiver!

View point: for a Trompe l’œil there is only one place and eye-height for the effect to really work- this is the view point.