Easel


Easel

An easel is an upright support used for displaying and/or fixing something resting upon it.

The word is an old Germanic synonym for donkey (compare similar semantics); its equivalent is the only word for both animal and apparatus in various languages, such as "Esel" in German and Afrikaans and earlier "ezel" in Dutch (the easel generally in full "schildersezel", 'painter's donkey'), themselves derived from Latin "Asinus" (hence ass), interestingly in Danish the word is "staffeli" and donkey is "æsel".

Easels are known to have been in use since the time of the ancient Egyptians. In the 1st century, Pliny the Elder makes reference to a large panel placed upon an easel.

It is most often used to hold up a painter's canvas or large sketchbook while the artist is working or to hold a completed painting for exhibition. The simplest form of an artist's easel, a tripod, consists of three vertical posts joined at one end. A pivoting mechanism allows the centremost post to pivot away from the other two, forming a tripod. The two non-pivoting posts have a horizontal cross member on which the canvas is placed. A similar model is fit to hold a blackboard, projection surface, placard etcetera. An easel can be full-height, designed for standing by itself on the floor. Shorter easels can also be designed for use on a table. Easels are typically made from wood, aluminum or steel.

There are two common designs for easels:
*Tripod designs are based on three legs. Variations include crossbars to make the easel more stable and an independent mechanism to allow for the vertical adjustment of the working plane without sacrificing the stability of the three legs of the easel.
*H-Frame designs are based on right angles. All posts are generally parallel to each other with the base of the easel being rectangular. The main portion of the easel consists of two vertical posts with a horizontal crossbar support, thus giving the design the general shape of an "H." Variations include additions that allow the easel's verticality to be adjusted.

There are three common usages for easels:
*Studio easels are meant for use in the artist's studio with limited need for the easel to be portable. Studio easels may be simple in design or very complex including winches, multiple masts and casters. The largest easels are studio easels with some being able to support weights of over 200 lb. and panels over 7 feet in height.
*Field easels are meant to be portable and for the creation of en plein air work. These easels are usually mid-sized or small, have telescopic or collapsible legs and are based on the tripod design. French box easels include a compartment in which to store art supplies conveniently along with a handle or straps so that the French box may be carried like a briefcase or a backpack.
*Display easels are meant for the display of finished works. These easels tend to be very simple in design with less concern for the stability needed by a working artist. Display easels can vary in size and sturdiness depending upon the weight and size of the object to be placed on them.

ources and references

* [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=easel&searchmode=none Etymology Online]
* [http://xylemdesign.com/Easels/easel_history/ The History of the Easel]

Relevant External Links

* [http://bengrosser.com/easel Build Your Own Easel -- Free Woodworking Plans to build an H-Frame Studio Easel]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Easel — Ea sel, n. [D. ezel ass, donkey, hence, easel, or G. esel; akin to E. ass. See {Ass}.] A frame (commonly) of wood serving to hold a canvas upright, or nearly upright, for the painter s convenience or for exhibition. [1913 Webster] {Easel picture} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • easel — (n.) 1590s, from Du. ezel easel, originally ass, from M.Du. esel, from L. asinus ass (see ASS (Cf. ass) (1)); the comparison being of loading a burden on a donkey and propping up a painting or canvas on a wooden stand (Cf. SAWHORSE (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • easel — [ē′zəl] n. [17th c. < Du ezel (Ger esel), ass, ult. < L asellus, dim. of asinus, ASS1: for sense, cf. Fr chevalet, easel, lit., little horse & SAWHORSE] an upright frame or tripod to hold an artist s canvas, a picture on display, etc …   English World dictionary

  • easel — [n] stand frame, mount, tripod; concepts 442,733,757 …   New thesaurus

  • easel — ► NOUN ▪ a wooden frame on legs for holding an artist s work in progress. ORIGIN Dutch ezel ass …   English terms dictionary

  • easel — UK [ˈiːz(ə)l] / US [ˈɪz(ə)l] noun [countable] Word forms easel : singular easel plural easels a frame used for supporting the paper or board that you are painting or drawing on …   English dictionary

  • easel — easeled, adj. /ee zeuhl/, n. 1. a stand or frame for supporting or displaying at an angle an artist s canvas, a blackboard, a china plate, etc. 2. Also called masking frame. Photog. a frame, often with adjustable masks, used to hold photographic… …   Universalium

  • easel — noun /ˈi.zəl/ An upright frame, typically on three legs, for displaying or supporting something, such as an artist’s canvas. Three sons … three! And not one sees fit to throw in with the old man. No … we have an easel painter, a stuntman, and a … …   Wiktionary

  • easel — noun Easel is used before these nouns: ↑painting …   Collocations dictionary

  • easel — ea|sel [ˈi:zəl] n [Date: 1500 1600; : Dutch; Origin: ezel donkey ; because an easel carries a painting as a donkey carries a person] a wooden frame that you put a painting on while you paint it …   Dictionary of contemporary English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.