Don't underestimate the texture of the painted surface - as well as the heavy texture of the paint itself - when it comes to layered paint analysis. This gives a very literal and significant third dimension to the painting...one that is practically absent in the silver print.
Also, a better correlation to the painting technique would be a multiple-exposure shot, where there are very real "layers" of the image that are built into the finished work. Subtle illuminations and bases can easily be done in this manner both on canvas and film. Stating that the lens is doing this is not quite accurate; there may be intentional aberrations that lend certain qualities to the image, but this is a far cry from the classical painting techniques that you reference. It is also a process, which - if it is, indeed, taking place as you say - you have no control over. You get what the lens gives you. On canvas - and this can be done with film, as well - you create the layers you wish to have to give the image the qualities you wish to portray.
I think you're over-simplifying.