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William Michael Harnett

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William Michael Harnett

William Michael Harnett (August 10, 1848 – October 29, 1892) was an Irish-American painter who practiced a trompe l'oeil (literally, "fool the eye") style of realistic painting. His still lifes of ordinary objects, arranged on a ledge or hanging from a nail, are painted in such a way that the painting can be mistaken for the objects themselves.The style of trompe l'oeil painting that Harnett developed was distinctive and inspired many imitators, but it was not without precedent. A number of 17th century Dutch painters, Pieter Claesz. for instance, had specialized in tabletop still life of astonishing verisimilitude. Raphaelle Peale, working in Philadelphia in the early 19th century, pioneered the form in America. What sets Harnett's work apart, besides his enormous skill, is his interest in depicting objects not usually made the subject of a painting

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