History of Faux Bois & Faux Finish School

History: Faux Painting

Faux french: literally “fake” or “artificial”

The use of faux techniques as a decorative art can be traced back to ancient Pompeii when it was used to create faux stone. Throughout the ages, painters have used faux techniques to imitate the appearance of stone, wood, and a variety of other materials. Faux underwent revitalization during the Renaissance era due to the creation of two faux schools: one in Italy, and one in France. The Italian school’s focus was artistic and loose, while the French school emphasized precision and accurate reproduction of materials. Since then faux techniques have been used throughout Europe, and is now experiencing a period of expansion in the United States.

With the increase in popularity, faux has experienced an expansion on the products and techniques used to create specific effects. Today, master faux finishers can recreate fine woods, textiles, marbles, stone, aged and distressed surfaces, as well as old world European textures. Faux finishes are often used when the original material is not available, too expensive, or structurally and technically unreasonable. Faux techniques have been used in all types of architecture from homes to palaces to museums, and as popularity and demand of faux increases, so do its possibilities.

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79 CE City of Pompeii is buried by an eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius, preserving the city under many feet of ash
1400s CE The Renaissance marks a revival in classical antiquity and art methods
1446 CE Petrus Christus’s Portrait of a Carthusian uses faux techniques to make a realistic fly on the bottom of the painting
1654 CE Gerard Dou’s Painter with a Pipe uses faux techniques to create the illusion of a curtain in front of the painting.
1450 CE Johannes Gutenberg introduces the printing press
1750 CE Henry Fuseli’s Trompe l’oeil is an excellent example of fooling the eye

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