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About Canvas & Art

by Annita A.


Canvas is an extremely durable, plain-woven fabric. Usually made from cotton, linen or hemp, it’s popular as a painting surface when stretched across a wooden frame (called a ‘stretcher’) and coated with gesso to prevent the paint from coming into direct contact with the canvas fibres (which would eventually cause the canvas to decay).

The word "canvas" is derived from the 13th century Anglo-French canevaz and the Old French

canevas. Both may be derivatives of the Vulgar Latin cannapaceus for "made of hemp", originating

from the Greek κάνναβις (cannabis). Canvas has been used for Art since the early 14th Century,

and one of the earliest surviving oils on canvas is a French Madonna with Angels from around 1410.

It came into common usage in the 16th century during the Italian Renaissance.


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