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What Are Canvas Paintings?

user iconby Gvido Grubeclock icon3 Minutescalender icon2024-02-28

What are canvas paintings and how are they different from canvas prints? The answer is actually pretty straightforward.

In short, canvas paintings are the paintings you know from art galleries. Canvas paintings are often confused with canvas prints – which is probably due to the similar names as much as the visual resemblance. Read on to find out what distinguishes the two mediums.

Key Points:

The single biggest difference between the two mediums is the fact that canvas paintings are painted by a person straight onto the canvas. This is normally done using either acrylic or oil paints.

“Canvas prints are printed; canvas paintings are painted. Simple as that...”


By contrast, canvas prints – as the name suggests - are printed reproductions of existing work, such as photographs or paintings. The two mediums have a common historical origin.

What are canvas paintings. Painting of a woman's face on canvas.

Stretched canvas was introduced in the 17th century as a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to the large wooden panels that were previously used as the foundation for paintings. Canvas painting was the original canvas medium and the forerunner of canvas print. Print duplication was only introduced with the advent of lithograp.

“So we can say that canvas painting was the historical game changer.”

Canvas printing developed further with the introduction of chromolithography. The technique was used to mass-produce advertising posters and this industry eventually morphed into what we know as the mass printing services of today.

What are canvas paintings. Photo canvas print with a historical sight.

Thanks to print duplication technology, millions of people can have their fondest memories printed and turned into high-quality wall decor accessories.

“Meanwhile, professional photographers are granted a cost-effective and efficient way to print and exhibit their creative output.”

If pretty much everyone’s a winner when it comes to modern canvas printing, the same is true with canvas painting, a medium which allows countless people to develop their artistic talent without breaking the bank.

Canvas Painting - The Best Format for Developing Your Artistic Talents

What are canvas paintings. Person painting on a canvas.

While the foundation of a canvas (the wooden frame and stretched canvas fabric itself) is pretty much the same regardless of its use, a canvas that’s intended for painting will be blank and will usually have no gesso layer at all. Thee material used for the canvae cloth can vary as well.

“Linen canvas is more costly and often seen as the premium option, with cotton being a more wallet-friendly alternative.”

The choice between the two, however, often comes down purely to individual preference. If you buy a cotton canvas at your local dollar store, there’s a risk that it will turn out to be under-gessoed, but in general this problem is quite rare. It depends on the vendor, but the two formats generally have very similar pricing. And they tend to feature the same priming, making any big difference in durability unlikely.

So it’s clear by now that canvas prints and canvas paintings play two different roless. It’s also clear that both have hugely contributed to making our everyday lives more fulfilled, colorful, and exciting – letting you get creative in your private studio or print a set of beautiful wedding photos for your living


What are canvas paintings. Person holding a photo canvas print. ​​

You’ve probably already noticed the little green button in the lower right corner. If there’s a photo that you’d like to see printed on a high-quality, reasonably-priced canvas, make sure to click it, as thousands of satisfied customers already have!

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