Do You Know True History of Canvas Paintings? Read It


Canvas is the best way to display the talent for an artist! Whatever he/she thinks portrays on canvas. From amazing oil paintings to other beautiful canvas paintings, there is something that makes it prestigious and out of the world. However, are you aware of the historical pages of the canvas paintings? Kudos to you, if the answer is yes, but, if the answer is no, then we are here to give you insights about canvas painting.

History Of Canvas Paintings:

The word ‘Canvas’ comes from the Latin word Cannabis, the canvas is historically made from tightly woven hemp and came into common usage in the 16th century during the Italian Renaissance. Venetian painters were especially keen on utilizing canvas for recording ancient history because it was easier for them to use in a humid environment than other things like wood panels. They were also large and readily available at cheap rates. Moreover, canvases were also used by the Venetians to make sales as they were known for their naval fleet.

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Not just that, the canvas had several other advantages that replaced the wood panels completely. Some of them are as follows:

  • Durability: Canvas was more durable than wood panels! It was more suitable to Venice’s humid climate, unlike wood panels, it does not deteriorate and wraps in wet conditions.
  • Portable: Canvas is lighter than wood panels and it can be rolled up, making it easier to transport.
  • Available: Canvas was affordable in Venice and readily available because it was used for making sails.
  • Versatile: They are versatile as it can be produced in larger formats than wooden panels.

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Because of the above features, Spanish also started using canvas for the paintings. By the 17th century, the canvas was spread throughout Northern Europe, kicking the wooden panels out from the paintings and the trend continues until today. They are not only used for oil paintings, but artists also use it for everything from acrylic painting and embroidery to photo canvas paintings (prints). It allows painters and photographers to display their talent professionally.

Let us find out, how actually canvas is made?

Hemp and Linen were traditionally used to create a canvas and they can be still found today. Most of the industrial canvases are created by using cotton. Keeping the price of canvas affordable and quality durable, the cotton is best to use. It stretched and makes it less prone to cracking and damage. The cotton is woven using a plain weave, it increases its strength and artists can select canvas based on how tightly the cotton is woven.

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After weaving, the canvas is wrapped around stretchers and painted by gesso. The layer of gesso ensures that oil paint would not come directly in contact with the canvas. Avoiding the layer of gesso can cause major problems to the canvas later. Some artists prefer to buy pre-prepared canvases. They prefer to do the treatment themselves; it gives greater flexibility about how much of the canvas weave shows. Many artists love incorporating this texture into their canvas paintings.

Got a big, blank canvas to work with? Here are some invaluable tips for canvas painting. Keep Scrolling to know more!

  • Begin your canvas painting by setting up your canvas and other supplies! Having your paintbrushes, palette knives, water and any other supplies ready makes your painting time stress free and fun.


  • One paintbrush does not fit all! You need to use an acrylic or oil-paint-brush that have long handles and stiff bristles for a canvas painting. You cannot create a canvas with the delicate watercolour brushes.


  • If you are beginning your canvas painting with a pre-stretched canvas, then you need to prime the canvas with a material like gesso before getting started. Gesso seals off the fibres of the canvas and makes the paint go smoother and last longer, and also protects your brushes.

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  • First, test the colours on your canvas! Because, oil paint does not change much, when dry, but acrylics will end up slightly darker than they look while you are painting. Simply paint swatches on scrap paper and let dry before moving onto the canvas to test out the colours.
  • In addition to gesso, apply a background colour on your canvas! This provides an all-over tone to your canvas and instantly sets the mood. Why? A bright white canvas might not be suitable for your concept, but a coat of light grey or green can give you a better starting point.
  • Once you are done, have a safe space for your canvas painting to dry! Be sure even before you start the painting, that whether you have a safe spot for it to dry. Even the slightest touch to the paint can cause sticking and messy clean-up. Simply, keep it on a big table, which is out of the reach from your friends and family.

We hope all this will help you in beginning with canvas painting or finding a suitable one for your home or office. For more information, stay tuned to Indian shelf!

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