Shaped canvases are paintings that depart from the normal flat, rectangular configuration. Canvases may be shaped by altering their outline, while retaining their flatness. An ancient, traditional example is the tondo, a painting on a round panel or canvas: Raphael, as well as some other Renaissance painters, sometimes chose this format for madonna paintings. Alternatively, canvases may be altered by losing their flatness and assuming a three dimensional surface. Or, they can do both. That is, they can assume shapes other than rectangles, and also have surface features that are three dimensional. Arguably, changing the surface configuration of the painting transforms it into a sculpture. But shaped canvases are generally considered paintings.
Apart from any aesthetic considerations, there are technical matters, having to do with the very nature of canvas as a material, that tend to support the flat rectangle as the norm for paintings on canvas. (See Departing from the rectangular below.)
In the literature of art history and criticism, the term shaped canvas is particularly associated with certain works created mostly in New York after about 1960, during a period when a great variety and quantity of such works were produced. According to the commentary at a Rutgers University exhibition site, "... the first significant art historical attention paid to shaped canvases occurred in the 1960s...."
Other articles related to "shaped canvas, shaped, canvas":
... of artists associated with the use of the shaped canvas during the period beginning in the early 1960s ... In fact, the use of the shaped canvas is primarily associated with paintings of the 1960s and 1970s that are coolly abstract, formalistic, geometrical, objective, rationalistic ... and copper paint and are his first works using shaped canvases (canvases in a shape other than the traditional rectangle or square), often being in L ...
... Gene Davis 1964, Washington Color School Frank Stella 1967, Shaped Canvas Ronald Davis 1968, Abstract Illusionism Ronnie Landfield, 1968, Lyrical Abstraction Another related movement of the ...
... Since the 1960s artists as diverse as Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Ronald Davis, David Novros, Paul Mogensen, Patricia Johanson and others made monochrome paintings on various shaped canvases ... While some of their monochromatic works related to minimalism none of the above were minimalists ...
... When thinking about shaped canvas it might be helpful to bear in mind that canvases are normally rectangular ... Canvas is a woven material, with threads, called the warp and weft, lying at right angles to each other ... Keeping a complicated shaped canvas painting clean can require care and attention that can be avoided by sticking to flat-surfaced paintings ...
... Albers explored chromatic interactions with flat colored squares arranged concentrically on the canvas ... of Martin, Baer and Marden) the use of the shaped canvas also during the period beginning in the early 1960s ... In fact, the use of the shaped canvas is primarily associated with paintings of the 1960s and 1970s that are coolly abstract, formalistic, geometrical, objective, rationalistic, clean-lined ...
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