Bas-de-page of the Baptism of Christ, "Hand G" (Jan van Eyck?), Turin-Milan Hours. An advanced illusionistic work for c 1425, with the dove of the Holy Ghost in the sky.
The art of Late Antiquity famously rejected illusionism for expressive force, a change already well underway by the time Christianity began to affect the art of the elite. In the West classical standards of illusionism did not begin to be reached again until the Late medieval or Early Renaissance period, and were helped by the development of new techniques of oil painting which allowed very subtle and precise effects of light to be painted using very small brushes and several layers of paint and glaze. Scientific methods of representing perspective were developed in Italy and gradually spread across Europe, and accuracy in anatomy rediscovered under the influence of classical art. As in classical times, idealism remained the norm.
In his writings and art criticisms during the mid-1960s art critic/artist Donald Judd claimed that illusionism in painting undermined the artform itself. Judd implied that painting was dead, claiming painting was a lie and because it depicted the illusion of 3-dimensions on a flat surface. Judd claimed that painting needed to recognize its objecthood in real space and reject illusion. Donald Judd wrote in “Specific Objects” in 1965:
Three dimensions are real space. That gets rid of the problem of illusionism and of literal space, space in and around marks of color… Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface.