ArtLex Art Dictionary



ffresco - A method of painting on plaster, either dry (dry fresco or fresco secco) or wet (wet or true fresco). In the latter method, pigments are applied to thin layers of wet plaster so that they will be absorbed and the painting becomes part of the wall.

Some examples:



Roman, Wall in the House of Sallust, Pompeii, 3rd century BCE, fresco, First Style (also called incrustation or masonry style), in situ.
see thumbnail to leftA reconstruction of how it may have originally looked and

see thumbnail to righthow it looks today.



see thumbnail to leftRome, Cubiculum (bedroom) from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor, c. 40-30 BCE, Republican, Second Style (also called the architectonic style), fresco; room: 8 feet 8 1/2 inches x 10 feet 11 1/2 inches x 19 feet 7 1/8 inches (265.4 x 334 x 583.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See cubiculum.




see thumbnail to rightRoman, Landscape, c. 40 CE, fresco "end of Third Style", scene: 66.2-66.6 x 52.3-52.8 cm, white border: 2-7 mm, red wall: 7.7-15.5 cm, George Ortiz collection. Allegedly from Stabiae. The trattegio in this fresco has been applied to a very small area just below the pair of figures in the upper third of the picture. Concerning its use here, Otiz's catalogue entry states: "In the present case, the restorer has made an exception to the rule by using both vertical and horizontal brushstrokes." See landscape and tratteggio.




see thumbnail to leftRome, Polyphemus and Galatea in a landscape, c. 31 BCE - 50 CE, mid-Augustan, Third Style (also called the ornamental or ornate style), fresco, height 73 3/4 inches (187.33 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.



see thumbnail to rightNorth Italian Painter, first quarter 14th century, Two Angels, fresco; (the one shown) 23 3/8 x 31 1/2 inches (59.4 x 80 cm); (the second) 23 1/2 x 31 1/2 inches (59.7 x 80 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See angel.





see thumbnail to leftMelozzo Da Forli (Italian, 1438-1494), Music-Making Angel (Angel with a Lute), fresco, c. 1480, Vatican, Italy. See angel and music.




see thumbnail to rightMelozzo Da Forli, Music-Making Angel (Angel with a Violin), fresco, c. 1480, Vatican, Italy.




see thumbnail to leftLeonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519), The Last Supper, 1495-98, [180 k,] modified fresco, 15 x 29 feet (460 x 880 cm), Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Refectory), Milan. Leonardo devised an experimental medium which employed some aspects of fresco, but was far from being true fresco. The painting began to deteriorate even during Leonardo's lifetime. The reasons for this disaster are more likely the result of humidity in the wall than because of flaws in Leonardo's technique. See cenacle, focal point, Renaissance, and symmetry.


Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475-1564), Signorelli, Girlandaio, and others in the Sistine Chapel, in Vatican City, Rome. Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II della Rovere in 1508 to repaint the ceiling, and completed these famous frescos between 1508 and 1512. Details of the ceiling: Creation of the Sun and Moon see thumbnail to left, Delphic Sylph, Cummic Sybil , and The Creation of Adam. He later painted The Last Judgement over the altar, between 1535 and 1541.





see thumbnail to rightRaphael Sanzio (Italian, 1483-1520), The Nymph Galatea, c. 1512-14, fresco, 116 x 88 1/2 inches (295 x 225 cm), Villa Farnesina, Rome.



Also see art conservation, cartoon, incrustation, marbling, mural, quadro riportato, and sinopia.







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