What Kind Of Canvas Did Van Gogh Use

If you have ever gazed upon a Van Gogh masterpiece, you are likely captivated not only by the merging hues and his distinctive strokes, but also by the texture and excellence of the canvas on which he created. Yet, have you ever pondered on the type of canvas the master used?

The Canvas Choice of Van Gogh

Van Gogh used a type of canvas known as linen canvas. This choice was not arbitrary; it was for specific reasons that Van Gogh chose linen canvas over others such as cotton.

Why Linen?

Linen canvas was preferred by Van Gogh for its superior quality and durability. Made from the fibers of the flax plant, linen canvas is stronger and more durable than cotton canvas. This strength allowed Van Gogh to apply thick, impasto strokes without worrying about the canvas tearing or deteriorating.

Another reason why Van Gogh preferred linen was because of its natural texture. Linen canvas has a unique, coarse texture that contributes to the overall texture of the painting. This texture perfectly complemented Van Gogh’s expressive, textured brushwork, allowing him to create his characteristic visual effects.

The Role of the Canvas in Van Gogh’s Art

In many of Van Gogh’s works, the canvas itself played a big role. He often left areas of the canvas bare, allowing the natural color and texture of the canvas to become part of the painting. By doing so, he turned the canvas from a mere support into an active part of the artwork.

So, the next time you see a Van Gogh painting, take a moment to appreciate not just the colors and brushwork, but also the canvas. It was an integral part of his work, a silent contributor to the magic that is a Van Gogh painting.


While most of us focus on Van Gogh’s brilliant use of color and his distinctive brushwork, it’s equally important to realize that his choice of canvas played a crucial role in his art. His choice of linen canvas for its durability, texture, and quality helped him create some of the world’s most admired art pieces.