Typical Canvas Sizes for Oil Paintings

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The rectangular shape is the most common for oil paintings.
The rectangular shape is the most common for oil paintings. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Oil paintings require knowledge of color, light, proportion and skill to produce. They also take a lot of time to produce. Because of this, oil paintings can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Some of the cost of an oil painting is reduced if you use a typical, prestretched canvas size. These canvas sizes are the sizes that most artists and art buyers choose.

Small Paintings

The smallest size of canvas typically used for painting is 16 inches by 20 inches. This canvas is large enough to fit most subjects, and many novice painters use this size. The 16-by-20 canvas has a rectangular size that can be used for either landscape or portrait styles. Another frequently seen small painting size is 18 inches by 24 inches. It has the same shape as the 16-by-20 frame, but provides a little more space for larger paintings.

Medium Paintings

A medium canvas size is used for larger walls. Most homes where fine art is not seen do not have paintings larger than the medium size. The typical medium size for canvas paintings includes 20 inches by 24 inches, 24 inches by 26 inches and 22 inches by 34 inches. Some of these frames look almost square, while others are pronounced rectangles. When used on a wall, these paintings are still small enough to be used in groupings.

Large Paintings

Large paintings include any frame size between 30 inches by 40 inches and 36 inches by 48 inches. Another large frame size is 48 inches by 72 inches. This extremely large painting is typically only used by professional painters and takes up a huge amount of wall space. Large paintings are usually the focal point of a wall and do not have companion art or decorative pieces surrounding them.

Unusual Sizes

Paintings with unusual sizes are typically a size smaller or larger than normal. Square and round frames are also seen less often than rectangular frames. In general, anything smaller than 16 inches by 20 inches or larger than 36 inches by 48 inches is an unusual size. It takes much longer to paint, and the costs for the supplies alone can cost thousands of dollars.

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