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Panel painting

Most surviving paintings from the 13th to the early 16th centuries are painted on wood panels. Panels can consist of single planks of wood, or multiple planks joined with glue, dowels and so on.

Two wood types are most common for Old Master paintings – poplar for Italian panels and oak for panels from Northern Europe. However, a range of other European species of tree have also been used at some time – softwoods such as pine and fir, and hardwoods such as lime, beech, willow, walnut, pear, cherry and other fruitwoods.

One special class of panel paintings involves metal sheets, usually copper, as the support. These are usually described as ‘copper panels’ or, simply, ‘coppers’.