Monday, 12 October 2009

Canvas formats

Before I came to England, it was obvious to me that canvasses came into three types of formats: Landscape (“Paysage”), Portrait (“Figure”) and Seascape (“Marine”). Then I realised that this classification was very French and that different countries had different formats.

Nowdays, with global trade, you can find or get these various formats in pretty much all countries.

Canvasses formats in France

You can see that, for a given canvas numbers, the longer side is common to the three formats (Landscape, Portrait and Seascape). There is a practical reason for this: it reduces the number of off-cuts in a roll of canvas (see below the first figure showing the three formats one on top of the other).

The interesting point is that these formats give you a different feel:
  • Landscape: Rectangle
  • Portrait: Rectangle going towards a square format
  • Seascape: long format ideal for pamoramas. This format is the less usual one

In Belgium, Germany and Italy, you find some «metrics formats»:

Winsor & Newton offers stretched canvasses

It would be interesting to see how the size of canvasses has evolved over time and when canvas sizes became standardized.

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