A linocut is a relief print  produced in a manner similar to a woodcut but that uses linoleum as the surface into which the design is cut and printed from

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  • John Banting, 'Explosion' 1931
    John Banting
    Explosion 1931
    Relief print on paper
    image: 83 x 127 mm
    Purchased 1972© The estate of John Banting
  • Pablo Picasso, 'Portrait of a Woman after Cranach the Younger' 1958
    Pablo Picasso
    Portrait of a Woman after Cranach the Younger 1958
    Linocut on paper
    image: 645 x 533 mm
    Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994© Succession Picasso/DACS 2002
  • Georg Baselitz, 'Drinker' 1981
    Georg Baselitz
    Drinker 1981
    Woodcut and monoprint on paper
    image: 798 x 593 mm
    Purchased 1997© Georg Baselitz

The lino block consists of a thin layer of linoleum (a canvas backing coated with a preparation of solidified linseed oil) usually mounted on wood. The soft linoleum can be cut away more easily than a wood-block and in any direction (as it has no grain) to produce a raised surface that can be inked and printed. Its slightly textured surface accepts ink evenly.

Linoleum was invented in the nineteenth century as a floor covering. It became popular with artists and amateurs for printmaking in the twentieth century.