Monday, June 11, 2012

Canvas Width in 16th c. Northern italy

The widest canvas readily available to 16th c. Venetian painters seems to have been a bit over a meter wide: 106-110 cm according to this.

This seems to be close to the most common width used by Rembrandt: 107 cm or 1.5 Brabant ells. It was possible to weave wider canvas: a few of Rembrandt's paintings used canvas that was probably originally 145, 175 and even 210 cm wide. However, the wider canvas seems to have been disproportionately expensive, since artists were willing to accept the presence of seams and use narrower cloth on all but the most important commissions. Narrower loom widths were used on smaller paintings: 70 and 85 cm. The last dimension seems also to have been used for sailcloth.

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