What are Frescoes?

Frescoes are paintings that are made of plaster. Frescoes are especially well-known in Italy, but they can also be found in other cultures, particularly in India, Latin America, and Greece, where the relatively dry climate preserves frescoes. Many frescoes are quite old, and it is possible that it is one of the earliest art forms, especially if cave paintings are considered frescoes. After a brief period of waning popularity, frescoes resurfaced in the mid-twentieth century, thanks to the work of Latin American muralists such as Diego Rivera and artists who received grants from the Works Progress Administration as part of the New Deal in the United States.

Frescoes are divided into two categories. Wet plaster is used to create traditional frescoes, and it is applied in small sections that can be covered in a single day. Traditional frescoes were created mixing pigments with water and applying them to plaster, which sucked the pigments in and bound them as the plaster dried. Frescoes can also be painted on dry plaster, and the two techniques were sometimes combined, especially when small changes or corrections were required.

Traditional frescoes have the advantage of being surprisingly long-lasting. Ancient frescoes dating back hundreds of years have been discovered more or less intact, or with enough clear imagery to fill in the blanks. The pigments do not flake or chip off over time because they are bound to the plaster. Traditional plaster, on the other hand, was made with lime, which created an alkaline environment that was resistant to some pigments. As a result, traditional frescoes had a more limited color palette, which some artists supplemented painting over the plaster after it had dried.

The majority of frescoes are painted on a large scale, which can be difficult for the artist. Artists must create works of art that are appealing both up close and from afar, and they frequently use perspective tricks to enhance the final product. Many frescoes, such as those found in major churches, have religious themes. Others, particularly in Ancient Greece and Rome, were created in private homes.

A well-done fresco or mural can be breathtaking to behold. Many well-known artists worked in the fresco medium, which means that visitors to frescoes can see works of art that are hundreds of years old in the context in which they were created. Some people believe that frescoes are more accessible than museum pieces because they are found in active churches and homes, rather than being isolated in museums. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some damage, as it is difficult to protect frescoes from moisture, smoke, human contact, and other contaminants that can harm them.