Wendy Bellion, associate professor, department of art history, University of Delaware. Trompe l’oeil art challenges viewers to make perceptual distinctions between things that look extraordinarily similar. It stages lessons in perception, imitation, and deception while piquing our delight in the pleasures of wit. Drawing upon the National Gallery of Art’s important collection of American still life painting, Wendy Bellion explores the serious fun of illusion in a lecture from the inaugural John Wilmerding Sympsoium on American Art, held at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.