Fresco art History making and techniques

Fresco art

Fresco art is a technique of painting walls or ceilings made of plaster or covered with mortar, still fresh, and usually takes the form of a mural Many times, even, the term is used to refer to mural painting in general.

Due to the fresh state of the plaster or mortar, the pigments only need to be diluted in water and, as the painted surface dries, the design also dries, which becomes part of the surface, and the fixation is quite durable, being a little less in damp places, as moisture causes cracking and damage to the wall structure and paintwork. Due to its affinity with the dry climate, it was widely used in northern Europe and Italy, except Venice. The fresco is widely used in churches and public buildings, and usually occupies large areas.

The fresco, derived from “buona fresco”, which means “good news” in Italian, was already used by Greeks and Romans, with historical reports of its use in the decoration of the Pinacoteca of the Acropolis of Athens, dating from the 5th century BC.

The fresco was used in Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art. Many frescoes from all these eras can be seen in Italy, the cradle, together with Greece, of the technique. But the technique can also be found in Chinese and Hindu culture.

More about Fresco Art

The technique requires a lot of dexterity and speed from the artist, as drying is very fast, which forces the painter to be even faster and more competent in what he does. One of the great disadvantages of the fresco is the almost impossibility of correcting errors after the painting is completed.

The preparation stages for the execution of the fresco are the preparation of the support – wall, ceiling – laying the mortar, painting the fresco and placing the layer of crystallization, to protect the work.

The main names in the fresco are: Giotto, the first great master of the technique, Masaccio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Tiepolo, Nazarenes, Cornelius, Riviera, Orozco and Siqueiros.

The fresco technique was present at great moments in the history of art, and is still widely used and valued by purist artists, as they believe that the technique can only be performed with natural pigments. In addition to playing an important role in the development of culture around the world, frescoes are also of great beauty.

Fresco Art History

Fresco  or fresco painting is a very old technique, which began in Greece and Rome. It is very common in churches and historic buildings, inside, on walls or ceilings.

Generally fresco painting involves painting over wet coatings such as fresh cement, plaster or lime so that the paint can be held in place without flaking. This type of paint can also be applied over mortar that has recently been placed on a wall.

It’s not difficult to do, it’s a simple procedure, if you want to modify the wall of your room or a room in the house that you think is a little dull or lacking in color, you can carry out this work, because the result looks good beautiful.

You will need paints, brushes, papers and newspapers, engineer paper and a reflector.

How to make

First, define the design that will be applied to the wall. There are several motifs, such as forests, under the sea, flowers, musicals… get creative on paper first before getting down to business.

Protect the floor of your home with newspaper.

Start your work.

There are different ways to do this:

  • Paint freehand. If you are an artist, draw with pencil first.
  • You can draw a grid first as a guide for your painting.
  • If you don’t know how to do any of the above procedures, use the engineer‘s paper on top of a reflector or projector to enlarge the image.
  • Direct this reflected image to the wall you want to work on. Just outline the lines and color with the paint of your choice to give the finish.

Fresco Art Techniques

Fresco  is a painting technique that needs to be carried out on walls or ceilings of lime, plaster or other similar material, while your sketch is still wet, or fresh (hence the name).

In their use, paints or pigments must be granulated, reduced to powder, and then mixed with water.

In this way, colors can penetrate wet surfaces as an integral part of them.

Red Sea Crossing – Sistine Chapel – Vatican

The fact that frescoes dry quickly obliges the painter to be very quick, to have firm lines and a clear objective for the final work. A limiting factor of this technique is the enormous difficulty of performing subsequent corrections.

Because it has great durability in countries where the climate is dry, the fresco technique was particularly applied in northern Europe, China and in some regions of India.

Used since antiquity, there are records of frescoes painted on walls on the island of Crete in the period from 2500 BC to 1100 BC

Murals by Diego Rivera in the National Palace

From the 18th century onwards, the use of frescoes became increasingly scarce.

However, in the 19th century, he finds new moments of appreciation among German painters.

In the 20th century, he gained admirers among the Mexican muralists Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros.

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