The expression platte peinture (variants: peinture plate and plate figure)
is commonly used in the 16th c. (cf. Havard), in treatises, narratives, literary works (cf. Belleau), to designate the representation, sometimes in paint, on a flat surface (canvas, wood, paper), of a three-dimensional object (scene, person, etc.). Plane representation is thus distinguished from embossed or relief work; Renaissance art and architecture gave it significance thanks to the (re)discovery of perspective (Vitruve-Martin 1547, cf. Li.7, f.100).
The triumphal entries of the middly of the 16th c. were the occasion for the exhibition of the latest artistic and technical inventions, including perspectives in plane representation (cf.
Triomphe de Henry 1551, 1571 Gay, 1572 Havard). The high frequency of the expression platte peinture is attested, on the one hand by the diversity of its syntagmatic
constructions -- la/une -; tableau, ouvrage,
ornement, figure, (etc.) de -; - faite, appliquée;
representer, umbrager de -; representer, umbrager, coucher en
- --, and on the other by its figurative uses found at the beginning of the 17th c. -- sot en bosse, et platte peincture (Cotgrave), or in speaking of the flat lower abdomen of a girl compared to the relief of that of a boy (Schelandre). It is recorded in its proper meaning by dictionaries at the start of the 17th c. (Marquis, Poille) and continues to be attested without any mark of obsolescence until the end of the 19th c. (Littré 1868, Académie 1878).