Fresco Painting is a complicated and tedious form of painting. It basically consists of painting onto wet plaster. This was used by various artists during the renaissance however it is no longer commonly used as it takes such a long time to complete a painting. Artists such as Masaccio and Michelangelo were very fond of this method of painting.

The Process

Before starting a fresco painting you need to do a first draft. This used to be done in silver point on small paper. After the first draft was completed the outlines of the painting would then be drawn up in full size and perforated. This would then be held up to a wall were it would be covered in charcoal.

The wet plaster would be applied in small amounts and would then be painted over, before it dried up. If the artist needed to use more than one colour they had to be prepared before hand or else the plaster would dry too quickly. The plaster needs to be wet in order for the paint to stay on. If the plaster were dry then it would be painting in secco the opposite of Fresco. The problem with painting in secco was that the paint would flake off.

Another inevitable problem one finds when using this method is that the colours on the actual painting vary depending on when they were done. Because the process takes so long one can only do small sections of the painting in one day. The part painted by an artist in one day is called a giornata. The differences in the colours are due to the paint not having the same consistency as the artists would have to make up their paint every day. There is a famous example of this in Masaccio's painting of the expulsion of Adam and Eve, where the sky is distinctly darker around Adam.

Fres"co (?), n.; pl. Frescoes or Frescos (#). [It., fr. fresco fresh; of German origin. See Fresh, a.]


A cool, refreshing state of the air; duskiness; coolness; shade.



2. Fine Arts (a)

The art of painting on freshly spread plaster, before it dries.


In modern parlance, incorrectly applied to painting on plaster in any manner.


A painting on plaster in either of senses a and b.


© Webster 1913.

Fres"co, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Frescoed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Frescoing.]

To paint in fresco, as walls.


© Webster 1913.

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