Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lincoln L'Oeil

An otherwise nondescript series of office buildings in the Penn Quarter.
Note the mosaic of Lincoln on the side of the building to the right, though.

Yes, that building!

Dig the balconies on this place!
And the mosaic of Lincoln.

One of the best art exhibits I ever attended was an exhibit of trompe l'oeil (the art of optical illusion) at the National Gallery of Art. Today, I ran out for a few minutes to go to the bank. I just happened to glance up 10th Street NW and noticed this fabulous example of trompe l'oeil art. At first, it looked like an arch over a set of balconies with a young Abraham Lincoln as the focal point above the arch. Upon closer inspection, though, I immediately realized this was trompe l'oeil.

This optical illusion is painted onto the side of a building that is directly across the street from Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in April 1865. The theater is one of D.C.'s most popular attractions and is currently undergoing a major renovation--it's first since the National Park Service took over the building almost 40 years ago. Prior to that, the building sat empty for more than 100 years.

To see this excellent example of tromp l'oeil art, go to 514 10th Street NW. The best views are from the corner of 10th and E Streets. (Or, if you can't come to D.C., click on the images above to see larger versions.)

Zip: 20004

Photography copyrights: D.C. Confidential (Janet M. Kincaid, 05/07)


ME said...

Didn't we see a trompe l'oeil exhibit together in DC? The one with the statues in the last room dressed like tourists looking at art--and not everyone realized they weren't real people?

I didn't notice the first time, so a security guard pointed it out. I was so delighted I sat on a bench for the next 10 minutes watching people discover the statues.

Mary Ellen

Janet M Kincaid said...

We did! Oh my gosh. I totally forgot you and I went to that together! I think I ended up seeing that exhibit four or five times. On my last tour, I finally noticed that the guard stationed in the first room was also not real! I wish the gallery had made that a permanent exhibit. It was so much fun and such a learning experience.

There's another tromp l'oeil in the city that I'm going to take a picture of soon. The first time I saw it, it totally threw me. When you see it and when I explain where it's at in relation to what it depicts, you'll understand why.