'Reverse Side Of a Painting' and the birth of painting consciousness  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Painting consciousness is an art term to denote self-reflexivity in painting. A prime example in this category is Reverse Side Of a Painting (right), from 1670, an oil on canvas by Flemish artist Cornelius Gijsbrechts.

This 17th century painting goes well beyond the trompe l'oeil aesthetic it is usually assigned to. I (via Victor Stoichita) consider it the birth of painting consciousness and a part of proto-surrealism.

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