Fresco How To

The following is a quick overview on how to paint a fresco.

  • The artist lays down a rough coat of plaster(arriccio), to smooth out the wall to be painted and to provide a moisture barrier between the wall and the painting.

  • After the plaster dries the painter would snap colored string against the wall to setup guidelines so the exact center of the painting could be found. This is done so that forms could be correctly aligned and sized.

  • With a charcoal stick the artist would then draw a full-scale preparatory drawing on the plaster. After the artist was satisfied with the drawing he would retrace over it with sinope. Then the remaining charcoal would be dusted off so it won't bleed through the paint.

  • Then a second coat of fine plaster called intonaca would be applied. This coat is applied in small patches(the process is called giornate). The pigment which was mixed with water needed to be applied while the plaster was wet so they would bond together.

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