Tuesday, February 28, 2017

THE COMMUNITY BRIDGE FULL OF MURALS - FREDERICK, MARYLAND


I had been told about the murals on a bridge in Frederick by a good friend of ours.  She and her husband visited Frederick some time ago. We have been thinking about this for a few months and last Wednesday, when the weather was mild and sunny, we decided it was time for a road trip.



The bridge is transformed by the painting technique of trompe l'oeil, meaning 'deceives the eye'.  It is described as a type of illusionistic painting characterized by its very precise naturalism. 



Those 'bricks' are not bricks at all.  The bridge is a blank canvas of plain concrete, and a very talented local artist, William Cochran, along with his team of other talented artists, created the Community Bridge.   The painting surface has 3,000 square feet with over 3,000 simulated stones. 



And then there are the symbols.  The bridge is painted with those that represent the many groups that live and work in Frederick.  Throughout the bridge there are symbols and stories contributed by thousands of people from all over the community, across the country and around the world.


In the following photo you will see The Unfound Door.



According to this website where I found the information for my post, 'the city of Frederick receives regular complaints from visitors excited about the mural project, but aghast that the city would allow ivy to grow across the priceless mural, unaware that the tendrils of ivy they saw climbing the painted stonework, were themselves part of the painted illusion.'



In the next photo you will see a very beautiful fountain.  



According to the website, several times birds have been observed attempting to alight on the fountain. 



My thanks to the website where I have found most of my information - link here - and a short history of this amazing painting technique.  



"As a painting style, trompe l'oeil has a history extending back as far as the Greek and Roman Empires, where horses are said to have neighed at a mural of horses they recognized.  The only ancient trompe l'oeil murals that survive today are those unearthed at Pompeii.



The famous art historian Vasari reports a story of a famous contest of antiquity held between two renowned painters to see who was the finest.  The first painter produced a still life so convincing that birds flew down from the sky to peck at the painted grapes.  The master then turned to his opponent in the triumph and said, "Draw back the curtains and reveal your painting."  The second painter knew then that he had won, because the 'curtains' were part of his painting.



Trompe l'oeil mural paintings resurfaced during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and was used to extend churches and palaces by 'opening' the ceiling or a wall.  The muralists of the day - Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello and Paolo Vernonese, among the most notable - experimented with perspective and found trompe l'oeil architecture to be their ally as they strove to paint what architect Leone Alberti called "a window into space."



In the mid to late 1800s in the United States, William Harnett revived trompe l'oeil still life easel painting, and his paintings are today acquired by major museums for millions of dollars.  A very labor intensive technique, trompe l'oeil fell out of favor after the industrial revolution when mass produced items became the rage.  There are few artists - and even fewer muralists - who execute this demanding style of art today."



I will have another post on these murals.

61 comments:

  1. Hi Denise, what a wonderful bridge, the murals are stunning, love the bird fountain. You are so lucky to be having some sun, the weather for the last week or two has been awful. All the best, John

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    1. We are going into a colder spell now John. I hear snow may be in the forecast. All the best to you too. Denise

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  2. How amazing. And colour me jealous that you got to see the wonders for youself.

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    1. Hi EC, I feel very lucky to see such things but then you get to see kangaroos! Color me envious :)

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  3. This is amazing! I actually got out my other pair of glasses to look at your pictures. My favorites are the door, the fountain with birds, and the statue. Because they look so REAL. Plus they are beautiful as well. I wish more of this was done, but I guess there are not enough artists that have perfected it. How did I miss your soup below? It looks divine. When I was younger, I would make a very similar cabbage soup twice a week.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed the mural photos and my soup recipe Ginnie.

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  4. What talented artists; everything is so realistic! Glad you had a nice day to visit. Very enjoyable.

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  5. I remember several of these murals. Nice pictures.

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    1. We will be going back again sometime. Happy Birthday Linda :)

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  6. Yes, this would be well worth seeing

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    1. I think you would enjoy it very much Red.

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  7. That is amazing Denise -- thank you for all this information and for the wonderful pictures. It is hard to believe the ivy is not real. I'd heard the term trompe l'oeil before and kind of knew that it meant fool the eye' but I had no idea of all that it really meant. Thank you.l

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sallie and you are very welcome.

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  8. Beautiful and fascinating series, Denise!

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  9. A very handsome bridge! Nice to see all the artwork up close.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It was very nice to study these works up close Amalia.

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  10. Hello Denise!
    I really enjoyed this post. Great photographs that show us works of an amazing work. It is a real mistake for the eyes.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Manuel

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  11. I have seen that type of artwork, though had no idea what it was called and I certainly couldn't pronounce it. What a fabulous idea, to use it on a bridge. Enlightened city council. It looks simply wonderful - hope it lasts well.

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    1. I agree about the council, very enlightened.

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  12. PS I guess someone might think that Trompe L'oeil is something politicians wear?

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  13. Amazing! I wonder how many millions have been fooled by this incredible work?

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    1. It certainly would be interesting to find a spot to sit and just watch the reactions :)

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  14. Hello Denise, fabulous murals and images. I would love visit Frederick soon and see these sights too. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

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    1. The same to you Eileen. Hope you can visit Frederick sometime.

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  15. Those paintings are unbelievably beautiful and so realistic! Now I want to go see all those murals for myself, how lucky you are to have gotten to see them. I wish you a wonderful rest of the week!

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    1. Thank you Little Bits, and the same to you.

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  16. OH MY, this might be the most stunning of all murals EVER.. it is gorgeous. I love every little piece of it you showed us. my favorite is the ivy leaves since they look so very real ... number 2 favorite is the birdbath. WOW on your photos and the bridge.

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    1. They were very impressive. And thank you Sandra.

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  17. Wunderschön dein Posting von diesen Gemälden und Mauerbearbeitungen!
    Gruss Elke

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  18. What-Amazing-Work!!!!!

    It is unbelievable!

    And I love the old story... "Draw back your curtains...." :-)))))))

    Happy March!

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    1. Thank you LC. Happy March to you also.

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  19. Oh, Denise...this is just simply amazing. Roger and I have just totally enjoyed this. This is just simply amazing.

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    1. That makes me happy Rose, thank you :)

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  20. Absolutely amazing to see this Denise! THe artwork is so well done I can see why so many are fooled by it!

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    1. I looked at them and I kept saying amazing Christine.

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  21. I am speechless! Wow!!! I just can't get over this amazing technique!

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    1. That's kind of like how I felt when I first saw them Marie.

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  22. So lovely to see these in your photographs.
    Just amazing, I'd love to be able to actually visit ... but I enjoyed your post, thank you

    All the best Jan

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    1. You are very welcome Jan and I am happy you enjoyed it. All the best, Denise

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  23. Replies
    1. Oh, lookee here! http://birdsbloomsbooksetc.blogspot.com/

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    2. Thanks Linda, I am going to check that out right now.

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  24. The artwork is incredible. Wow is all I can say. Thank you for sharing.
    betsy

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    1. You are very welcome Betsy, so glad you enjoyed it.

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  25. Wow! These are just so awesome!!! I'm going to show these to my son and daughter-in-law.

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  26. I just looked it up. It was Marcia's blog:
    http://birdsbloomsbooksetc.blogspot.com/2017/03/trompe-loeil-in-fredrick-md.html

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    1. Appreciate you leaving the link. Thanks again :)

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