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)

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