Painting: Materials & Supports : Painting Supports: History

Now historically, of course, the earliest
paintings were on cave walls and then ancient ruins show painting architecturally, like
the ruins of Pampas for example; ruins of Egypt. So painting was an architecturally
element. Gradually painting became more portable. People would work on wooden panels. A tempera
really needs to be on a wooden panel because the slightest flexing will cause it to crack.
But one advantage when artists discovered painting in oils was they also discovered
you could stretch a canvas. And that makes a big painting a lot lighter and a lot more
portable. So perhaps the first time in history, the idea of large, important works of art
being portable came to being. And it has been that way ever since. Canvas is still the primary
mode of painting today. Primary support for painting. Of all sizes, they can be rectangular
as they most frequently are, they could be rounded or they could be shaped in any number
of ways as so many modern artistes have shaped them. The basic structure of the canvas is
fundamentally the same.

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