Trompe-l’œil, in the form of “forced perspective”, has long been used in stage-theater set design, so as to create the illusion of a much deeper space than the actual stage. A famous early example is the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, with Vincenzo Scamozzi’s seven forced-perspective “streets” (1585), which appear to recede into the distance.
Trompe-l’œil is employed in Donald O’Connor’s famous “Running up the wall” scene in the film Singin’ in the Rain (1954). During the finale of his “Make ’em Laugh” number he first runs up a real wall. Then he runs towards what appears to be a hallway, but when he runs up this as well we realize that it is a large trompe-l’œil mural. More recently, Roy Andersson has made use of similar techniques in his feature films.
Matte painting is a variant of trompe-l’œil, and is used in film production with elements of a scene are painted on glass panels mounted in front of the camera.
Fictional trompe-l’œil appears in many Looney Tunes, such as the Road Runner cartoons, where, for example, Wile E. Coyote paints a tunnel on a rock wall, and the Road Runner then races through the fake tunnel. This is usually followed by the coyote’s foolishly trying to run through the tunnel after the road runner, only to smash into the hard rock-face. This sight gag was employed in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
In Chicago’s Near North Side, Richard Haas used a 16-story 1929 apartment hotel converted into a 1981 apartment building for trompe-l’œil murals in homage to Chicago school architecture. One of the building’s sides features the Chicago Board of Trade Building, intended as a reflection of the actual building two miles south. One of France’s most illusive trompe-l’œil artists is Jean Claude Adenin, who has created installations for various wealthy clients.
Several contemporary artists use chalk on pavement or sidewalk to create trompe-l’œil works, a technique called street painting or “pavement art.” These creations last only until washed away, and therefore must be photographed to be preserved. Practitioners of this form include Julian Beever, Edgar Mueller, Leon Keer and Kurt Wenner.
The Palazzo Salis of Tirano, Italy has over centuries and throughout the palace used trompe l’œil in place of more expensive real masonry, doors, staircases, balconies and draperies to create an illusion of sumptuousness and opulence.
Trompe-l’œil in the form of illusion architecture and Lüftlmalerei is common on façades in the Alpine region.
Trompe l’œil, in the form of “illusion painting”, is also used in contemporary interior design, where illusionary wall paintings experienced a Renaissance since around 1980. Significant artists in this field are the German muralist Rainer Maria Latzke, who invented, in the 1990s, a new method of producing illusion paintings, frescography, and the English artist Graham Rust.