Willem van Romeyn asks whether Van Gogh first made preparatory sketches before painting. Check out the answer.
Van Gogh always took a meticulous approach to painting. He often began with an initial pencil, charcoal or chalk sketch, or plotted a work in paint on canvas.
We can now use infrared technology to ascertain whether the layer of paint conceals a drawing. If the top layers of paint aren’t too thick, some of the infrared light passes through and is reflected by the lighter-coloured surface underneath (often a ground-layer). The infrared rays are absorbed by a black underdrawing, and this drawing is clearly visible in an infrared reflectogram.
If you look closely, you can also see that Van Gogh has drawn perspective lines and a vanishing point in order to capture the correct sense of depth in his composition.