The Art of Architectural Trompe-l'oeil: Moldings and Ornaments of style painted in trompe-l'oeil


The focus of this course will be on building a much greater understanding on the techniques of painting architectural trompe-l’œil, covering the theoretical aspects as well as the actual painting techniques. 

As Michel walks you through the entire technique, you will not only learn what brushes and tools to use, you will also learn the 'language' of architectural trompe-l'œil that will make painting moldings and ornaments much easier once you acquire this vocabulary.  Each panel taught in this course is designed by the instructor and will take into account the training that will lead to mastery in painting trompe-l’œil

The art of trompe-l’œil is simply fascinating.  It's through the study of light and shadow that you will be able to understand how moldings are formed, you will understand the ornamentations of style, the drapery, the anatomy and all sorts of volumes that nature has created around us.  Join us in beautiful southwest France to study with the art of trompe-l'oeil with award-winning decorative painting artist Michel Nadaï, and continue on with us for week 5 to study the Art of Grotesca with Caterina Manisco (click here for more information!).





Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced painter,
trompe-l’œil is an artistic discipline that will allow you to grasp, deepen and even enrichen your artistic statement.


Dates:  from October 16th, 2023 to November 17th, 2023 (5 weeks - 185 hours of class)

Venue:  Atelier Nadaï, 8 rue François Arago, 47000 Agen, France

Our next autumn/winter session will be held in our atelier in the town of AGEN in the Lot et Garonne.  For more information on how to get to our atelier, please click here

Who can apply:  This course is open to beginners or professionals, looking for a complete and in-depth training in rendering decorative architectural moldings and ornaments painted in trompe-l’œil.

Michel Nadaï (for weeks 1 to 3 - techniques of trompe-l'oeil)
Caterina Manisco (for weeks 4 and 5 - techniques of Grotesca)

Certification of the course :  
Students receive the school's Certificate upon completion of the course.  Certificate will mention that he or she studied with a recipient of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award (Best Craftsman of France award).  For week 5, student will receive certificate of completion mentioning that he or she studied with Caterina Manisco or Stefano Luca.



Highlights of the program - What you will learn:*

• Elements of Light and Shadow

• Techniques of striping and faux molding :
   - study of various types of filets (linings) that compose a molding
   - study of various molding profiles

   - acquiring the proper vocabulary of trompe-l'oeil

• Techniques of ornamentation painted in trompe-l’œil :
   - transfering the design using the pouncing technique
   - using the proper tools to render the ornaments of style painted in trompe-l'oeil
   - creating aged effects and patina of ornaments painted in trompe-l'oeil

• Composition of Style

• Techniques of French Grisaille
• Techniques of painting a drapery

• Techniques of painting a Grotesca panel with egg tempera

• Students will render several beautiful panels - design will be provided by the instructors.


Training method and certification of the course - how the course is taught:
- Theoretical explanations and demonstrations on a daily basis.
- Immediate hands on practice through daily exercises.
- Students create individual panels on canvas (design provided by instructor).
- Instructor folows through each student's progress on a daily basis.
- Students receive a Certificate upon completion of the course.

⇒ Scroll down the page to see weekly program



To receive our course brochure please go to Contact and send us an email.



MODULE 2 - The Art of Architectural Trompe-l'oeil: Moldings and Ornaments of style painted in trompe-l'oeil


Week 1 - October 16th, 2023 to October 20th, 2023 (5 days/35 hours
Trompe-l'oeil Level I - Introduction to trompe-l'oeil
Learning how to create linear trompe-l'oeil (linings), to render architectural moldings and ornaments of style painted en trompe-l'oeil

Week 2 - October 23rd, 2023 to October 27th, 2023 (5 days/35 hours)
Trompe-l'oeil Level II
Rendering a decorative panel with architectural ornaments and moldings of style painted in trompe-l'oeil.

Week 3  from October 30th, 2023 to November 3rd, 2023 (5 days/35 hours)
Trompe-l'oeil Level III
Rendering of a decorative panel with ornamentation of style painted in trompe-l'oeil and central decoration treated in grisaille.

Weeks 4 and 5 - from November 6th, 2023 to November 17th, 2023 (10 days/80 hours)

The Art of Grotesca Level 1 / The Art of Grotesca Level 2
Decorative panel painted using techniques of Grotesca and tempera taught by master Italian decorative painter Caterina Manisco!

*highlight of the program is for informative purpose; the program may therefore receive modifications if necessary.
*Possibility of taking the module in its entirety, or taking the week(s) of your choice.  Please contact school for more information and to learn about registration procedures.



Course tuition:
For weeks 1 to 5 :   4399,30 euros net for 185 hours of class.
For weeks 1 to 3:    2310,00 euros net for 105 hours of class.


Tuition includes:
- Instructors' live instructions and daily critic of your work
- Free use of oil paints, acrylic paints, mediums, solvants
- Supports to paint on (polyester canvas).
- Class materials (photocopies and written materials)
- Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits.

Not included in tuition:
- Brushes and tools and personal sundry items
- Please note that the school does not provide meals or accommodation and these are not included in the course fee. Each student will be in charge of meals and accommodation as well as travel expenses. Information on accommodation is available upon request.

Regarding brushes:
- Student will be asked to bring or purchase specialized brushes and other sundry items such as ruler, compass, pencils, eraser, notebook. (You can count approximately 320 euros to 350 euros for tools, brushes and sundry items).  To facilitate things for our students, brush sets are available for purchase on our online store.  If you already have decorative painting brushes needed for this course, you will not be required to purchase a new set of brushes. 

Training materials:
To find out more about the equipment and materials provided by Atelier Nadaï throughout the course, please click here.