Seeing is believing but not in the fresco world

This hard-working group can be seen in Aurec-sur-Loire, which sits above the river in Auvergne

Labourers turning a treadmill, washer- women doing the laundry, film stars out on their balconies... In some French towns, you would be quite right to question what you see, for trompe l’œil is back in fashion.

A wall before it is decorated with a fresco
The bare Aurec-sur-Loire gable wall

The technique, where images give the illusion of 3D objects on a flat surface, is increasingly being used to adorn otherwise mundane buildings in public spaces, giving passers-by pause for thought. And going beyond trompe l’oeil, a new breed of ‘muralists’ are painting walls with architectural features, decorative designs, signs or simply pictures,

Patrick Commecy, of Isère firm A-Fresco, says the paintings bring a sense of distinctiveness to a place.

“It is about representing the specificity of each location, taking into account local conditions, such as light, and constraints, such as the placement of windows or balconies.

“For tourists, these walls act as giant ID cards for the place they are visiting.”

Rather than the problem of incorporating objects, sometimes the biggest constraint is how to make a large blank wall in a dull grey square interesting.

It is not like painting on canvas or ...

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