How to Paint Wall Murals : Fresco Painting for a Wall Mural


IAN LOVEALL: My name is Ian Loveall. I’m with
Expert Village and we’re talking about mural painting today. Mural painting is an art form
about as old as dirt and the oldest recorded mural that we have today is–would be the
cave paintings in Lascaux, in France which are pre-historic. No one can agree on how
old they actually are but they’re pretty old. The closest thing to a modern painting, mural
that we have would be the frescoes that were so popular in Crete and Italy around the Middle
Ages, 1500s, and there were two basic types of fresco. You had the “buon fresco” which
meant that they would paint actually on the wet plaster and then “a secco” which means
dry. Buon frescoes sort of went out of vogue, first of all, because it’s terribly, terribly
time-consuming. Here’s an example of a buon fresco. This is from the famous city of Pompeii
and as you can see, the colors have been preserved pretty incredibly well. Now this is an example
of buon fresco. The pigment would actually be applied to the plaster while it was still
wet and so it would bind much better to the wall. You can see here that it’s been applied
in sections. That’s because you had to work in a section small enough that you could finish
it all before the plaster actually dried, so it’s actually very rare to find one in
as good condition as this is here because the different sections of plaster have a tendency
to break away from the wall. The other type of fresco is called a secco which means applied
dry. Now these were used in paintings that required either a much larger space–this
is from the Island of Crete. This is an example of an a secco fresco and you can tell because,
first of all, you won’t see as many separations where the plaster was applied in sections.
These would have been done all in one piece, not in sections as we saw with the buon fresco.
And another clue is that there’s a lot of blue in this mural, and blue was a pigment
that was very difficult to achieve at the time. They didn’t have the wonderful pigments
and polymers that we use today. And so the two main pigments were azul and lapis and
they didn’t react well with wet plasters so they could really only be achieved after the
plaster had dried so this would, ergo, have to be an a secco fresco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *