Fresco: the art of painting on fresh, moist plaster with pigments dissolved in water.
True fresco consists of painting in pigment in a water medium on a wet or fresh lime mortar or plaster. In contrast, in secco painting is done on dry plaster with pigments in a binding medium, like egg. The difference between the two is that fresco absorbs the pigment as it dries and the painting becomes part of the wall surface, rather than resting on top of it. Fresco enjoyed the height of its popularity from the late thirteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries. Examples of fresco paintings can be found as early as famous caves at Lascaux, France when artists applied chalk, charcoal, and colored earth to damp limestone cave walls some 30,000 years ago. Also, examples are found in the Roman city of Pompeii, which dates back to more than 2,000 years ago.
Throughout history, frescos have been used as educational, spiritual, decorative and artistic displays. Early Greeks and Romans used fresco to liven-up enclosed rooms, and depicted Gods and rituals as part of their sacred practices. The expertise of the Greek and Roman fresco artists was passed down, expanded on, and used extensively to decorate Christian churches throughout Europe. During the Renaissance, fresco, like all arts, experienced dramatic reform and was perfected to a high degree; however, the use of fresco also declined during that time due to the raise of other techniques. The Mural Renaissance of Mexico, led by Diego Rivera, helped revive fresco as a part of modern art. Frescos are still used today in private and public places across the world.
|13,000-15,000 BCE||Lascaux, France cave paintings|
|79 CE||City of Pompeii is buried by an eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius, preserving the city under many feet of ash|
|1317 CE||Simone Martini, frescos at the Basilica of San Fransesco d’Assisi|
|1423 CE||Masaccio’s The Tribute to Money, Brancacci Chapel|
|1481 CE||The Sistine Chapel commissions ceiling and wall frescos|
|1920 CE||Mexican Muralist Revolution begins a revival in murals and frescoes as forms of art|