Trompe L'oeil 18th Century Fireboard.
This painting is 41" tall by 74" wide and is a fireboard that serves beautifully as a decorative painting. Oil on wood. Probably Italian.
Trompe-l'œil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture.
A fireboard or chimney board is a panel designed to cover a fireplace during the warm months of the year.
It was "commonly used during the later 18th and early 19th centuries" in places like France and New England.
In warm weather, "a fireboard effectively reduced the number of mosquitoes and other insects, or even birds, that might enter a house through an open, damperless chimney."
The "board or shutterlike contrivance" typically "of wood or cast of sheet metal" is "frequently decorated with painting and stencilling."
Some fireboards have notches cut out of the lowest edge to accommodate andirons.
Fireboards are also called: chimney boards, chimney pieces, chimney stops, fire boards, summer boards.