May 28, 2022

Canvas - natural (usually linen), synthetic or combined (blended) fabric with plain (that is, perpendicular with alternating overlaps through one thread) weave of yarn.


Hemp canvas, which has a yellowish color, was more common in central Russia, where natural conditions favored the growth of hemp. It is usually thicker, coarser than silver linen and has a higher wear resistance. Up to the 20th century. such canvases were made by the people of different quality grades: for thin ceremonial towels, festive or work clothes. Among many peoples of Russia, it had a width of 36-38 cm, which was determined by the possibilities of hand weaving on home looms. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus noted that “the Thracians (inhabitants of the Eastern Balkans) make even clothes from hemp, so similar to linen that a person who is not particularly well versed will not even distinguish whether they are linen or from hemp.” In the countries of Western Europe, the canvas began to be used for painting from the beginning of the 16th century. For the first time, Florentine and Venetian painters began to use the canvas in significant quantities. At the same time, in Venice, the method of painting with glue paints on canvas was called "German" and was known from the first half of the 14th century. The earliest known cloth-based paintings, the Venetian ones, are painted on rough hemp canvas. Later, the canvas as a basis for painting began to be used by the artists of the northern schools - the Flemings, the Dutch, the Germans, who adopted oil painting on canvas from the Italians. The advantages of canvas over wood as a basis for painting were so great that in the 19th century, restorers from museums in Europe began to massively transfer old paintings from a wooden base to a fabric one. In ancient Russian art, there are examples of the use of canvas as a basis for small, often double-sided, icons - the so-called "towels". In the 20th century, they are called "pills". The basis for the tablet usually consists of two pieces of canvas glued together, often paper was laid between them. Then the glued canvas was covered on both sides with a thick layer of primer.