The finest Italian and Belgian linen for your art
A painting begins with the canvas material the artist chooses. In fact, the canvas is one of the most important parts of a painting— it can influence the look and feel of the work. The canvas surface is an important choice for the artist. Italian and Belgian linen are among the finest canvas materials you can use for your artwork. Woven from yarn made of strong, flexible flax fibers, linens have a unique look and feel that makes them a favorite canvas material for artists.
We offer primed linen rolls from Belle Arti of Italy. These linen rolls are primed for oil, lead, and acrylic. Libeco Lagae supplies our Belgian line, sold in loomstate rolls.
Benefits of Italian and Belgian linen canvas
Linen is by nature stronger and more durable than cotton canvas, so for artists concerned about the longevity of their artwork, Italian and Belgian linen are superb substrates. Linen canvases are made from the fibres of the flax plant, the highest quality of which is harvested primarily in Western Europe. The linen’s threads, known as the warp and weft threads, weigh the same, which means they are less prone to expansion or contraction due to moisture—the higher the quality of the linen, the less prone to expansion it is. Italian and Belgian linens also retain their natural oils. This helps preserve the fibre’s flexibility and stops the canvas from going brittle.
Priming linen canvas material
Linen can be difficult to prime and stretch properly, but once you have mastered this, it offers the smoothest and stiffest painting surface. (We offer primed rolls of our linen canvas materials and canvas stretching for those who don’t wish to go through this step). If you choose our loomstate linens, you will need to prime the canvases—priming a canvas creates a barrier between the canvas and the paint, protecting the paint from any possible damage coming through the back of the canvas (such as moisture or mould). Many artists choose to paint on unprimed canvases, as they like the bight and grab of it (think of Francis Bacon). If that sounds like you, we recommend using primed canvas and painting on the reverse side (having the canvas stretched backwards). That way the gesso layer still protects the back of the canvas. We also always recommend that artists varnish their work, which in effect sandwiches the paint and protects it from any damage from the front.
Ready to paint on Italian or Belgian linen? Shop our selection of linen canvas material now.