Notes from Ebert-Schifferer, Sybille. Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l’Oeil Painting. Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 2002.
“Trompe L’oeil” is a French term meaning eye deceiver and it first appeared as a noun in 1800.
All painting until the mid 1800s strove for accurate imitation of the world. “Thus it was unnecessary to designate a genre for paintings that were particularly successful in this way.” Instead, subject matter separated what technique did not. History painting was at the top and still-life was at the bottom. To succeed at still-life all it took was technical skill. “It was precisely the way trompe l’oeil caused a painter to disappear behind his work that resulted in this genre’s being so despised within the hierarchic schemes established by the academies.” Display of authorship was important.
Academia was not a fan of the still-life genre, but it was popular with the public.
Ruskin (1819-1900) “…presciently identified what would become a hallmark of the modern age, one that would finally undermine the concept of mimesis itself: trompe l’oeil was a dangerously subversive art form that – by compelling us to contemplate object-ness, the conditions of its making, and the mechanics of human perception – profoundly shattered our faith in our ability to recognize truths.”
About Parrhasias and Zeuxis.
“That an artist’s status grew in proportion to the rank of the person deceived became a topos as well…”
“…the intellectual or social status of the deceived viewer was taken as the measure of an artist’s rank.”