Perhaps the biggest secret in art history. What caused the drastic shift in painting accuracy during the golden age? Was technology involved in the 17th century?

Once the standards of realistic representation rise, it's harder to go back. Kind of like with TV. Back in the early days of TV, a soundstage and plastic props were enough. People understood what the story and the setting was supposed to be and their imaginations just filled in the rest. Now we've got incredibly cinematic shows in which every single detail has to look authentic or a bunch of people complain.

Same with earlier art. The 2D representation of portraits and landscapes were good enough as long as people could tell what was supposed to be depicted. Artists like Vermeer raised the standards, which made it hard for future artists to go back to the relatively amateurish-looking styles of their depictions.

/r/UnresolvedMysteries Thread