Thursday, May 24, 2007

Diego Rivera's 1931 Fresco

One of the frescos we will see on our trip is this famous Diego Rivera work completed in 1931 at the San Francisco Art Institute on Russian Hill.

The Planned Route

From Bowling Green Kentucky and St Louis Missouri we are off to the Southwest.
First to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico to study the following works by master fresco painter Frederico Vigil.
"Santa Madre Tierra y su Alma," The Albuquerque Museum
"Cosmos Historia, the Harmonious Process," Mesa Vista Hall, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
"Brother Miguel Febres Cordero, FSC," Meditation Room, College of Santa Fe San Inez de Campo Chapel, San Acacio Street, Santa Fe "Asumption of our Lady," Rosario Chapel in Rosario Cemetery, Old Taos Highway, Santa Fe

Next, travel to Los Angeles, California to study the techniques, process and pedagogy of buon fresco painting. Master fresco painter iLia Anosov at the Fresco School offers a private lesson in buon fresco

Finally travel up the coast to San Francisco to see works by master fresco painter Diego Rivera:
“The Making of the Fresco” 1931, San Francisco art Institute
“Allegory of California” 1931, San Francisco Stock Exchange

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Buon "True" Fresco Technique

Humans have used wall painting as a vehicle for expression for more than 30,000 years. At an unkown point in hisotry, it was discovered that painting with pigment on moist limestone created a long lasting and stable image. This ancient discovery was the beginning of a painting technique known as buon or "true" fresco.

Buon Fresco painting requires an artist to apply pigment dissolved in limewater to a freshly laid plaster wall. As the wall dries, the paint and plaster become intergrated as one. The result is a firm, permanent surface that resembles colored stone. Proof of this technique's durability can be seen in frescoes that date as far back as the Minoan civilization, approximately 1,500 BCE. Along with permanence, the potential scale and expressive qualities of buon fresco helped the technique take a commanding role in the art of the Italian Renaissance. To the art patrons of the Quattrocento, fresco was the most prized from of painting, and they used it extensively to addorn their churches and palaces.

Two historical examples of buon fresco painting

"Bull Jumpers" Minoan painting from the palace of Knossos Crete, circa 1,500 BCE

A detail of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" from the Sistine Chapel ceiling (Itallian Renaissance circa 1500 CE)