The History of Canvas Painting


Since people first began to record world events, art in the form of drawing and painting has played a huge role in our lives. From scratching crude historic happenings onto cave walls to painting gorgeous impressions of our surroundings onto canvas, art is and always will be important to all cultures.

Ancient Drawings

  • Up until the Renaissance era (1400 to 1700), solid mediums like wood planks and stones were used as canvases for painting.

Early Oil Painting

  • The "French Madonna with Angels" oil on canvas from about 1410 A.D. is an early painting that survived the years and is on display in Berlin's Gemäldegalerie museum.

Renaissance Period

  • Italian artists first popularized the use of canvas during the early Renaissance period, with Venetian artists following suit around 1500 A.D.

Linen Canvas

  • After hemp, linen canvas became the preferred medium for oil paints. Cotton duck canvas was popularized by poor artists in the early twentieth century.


  • "Canvas" is a variant of the Arabic word for cannabis (hemp), and came about because canvas was originally made from hemp.

Acrylic Paint

  • Acrylic paint, invented in the 1950s, increased the use and popularity of cotton duck canvas.

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