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The Canvas

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Canvas stretched across a wooden frame
(GNU Free Documentation License)

The Canvas

Before oil paint was adopted by many artists, the supports to paint on were highly varied, ranging from wooden structures to pieces of silk or even whole walls.

It was at the turn of the 16th century that artists began to use canvases stretched over a frame. Practical, they enabled painters to roll up their works to transport them more easily, rendering in particular the sales process easier. Many of them were made out of textile linen, which provided a resistant piece of brownish fabric.

Later, cotton was used instead, more economical but of inferior quality. The canvas is generally covered with a primer, a preparation spread over it so that paint adheres well to the support without seeping through into the support's fibers.

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