Carbon dating oil paintings
Many Dutch painters of the Golden Age used panel for their small works, including Rembrandt on occasion.
By the 18th century it had become unusual to paint on panel, except for small works to be inset into furniture, and the like.
The technique is known to us through Cennino Cennini's The Craftsman's Handbook (Il libro dell' arte) published in 1390, and other sources. It was a laborious and painstaking process: Once the panel construction was complete, the design was laid out, usually in charcoal.
The usual ancient painting technique was encaustic, used at Al-Fayum and in the earliest surviving Byzantine icons, which are at the Saint Catherine's Monastery.
Donor portraits including members of the donor's family are also often shown, usually kneeling to the side.
They were for some time a cheaper alternative to the far more prestigious equivalents in metalwork, decorated with gems, enamels, and perhaps ivory figures, most of which have long been broken up for their valuable materials.
However, one of the earliest surviving oils on canvas is a French Madonna with angels of about 1410 in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, which is very early indeed for oil painting also.
Encaustic largely ceased to be used after the early Byzantine icons.
A panel painting is a painting made on a flat panel made of wood, either a single piece, or a number of pieces joined together.