An easel is an upright support used for displaying and/or fixing something resting upon it, at an angle of about 20° to the vertical. In particular, easels are traditionally used by painters to support a painting while they work on it, normally standing up, and are also sometimes used to display finished paintings. Artists' easels are still typically made of wood, in functional designs that have changed little for centuries, or even millennia, though new materials and designs are available. Easels are typically made from wood, aluminum or steel. Easel painting is a term in art history for the type of midsize painting that would have been painted on an easel, as opposed to a fresco wall painting, a large altarpiece or other piece that would have been painting resting on the floor, a small cabinet painting, or a miniature created sitting at a desk, though perhaps also on an angled support. It does not refer to the way the painting is meant to be displayed; most easel paintings are intended for display framed and hanging on a wall. In a photographic darkroom, an easel is used to keep the photographic paper in a flat or upright (horizontal, big-size enlarging) position to the enlarger.
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