Buon fresco (Italian for true fresco) is a fresco painting technique in which alkaline resistant pigments, ground in water, are applied to plaster when it is still wet, as opposed to fresco-secco (or a secco). The buon fresco technique consists of painting with pigment ground in water on a thin layer of wet, fresh, lime mortar or plaster, for which the Italian word for plaster, intonaco, is used. Because of the chemical makeup of the plaster, a binder is not required. After a number of hours the plaster reacts with the air in a process called carbonatation: this chemical reaction fixes the pigment particles at the plaster's surface in a protective crystalline mesh known as the lime crust. One of the first painters in the post-classical period to use this technique was the Isaac Master in the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.
Buon fresco contrasts with finto fresco, a technique in which paints are applied to dried plaster.
The advantage of Buon fresco is its durability. In fresco-secco, by contrast, the color does not become part of the wall and tends to flake off over time. The chief disadvantage of Buon fresco is that it must be done quickly without mistakes. The painter plasters and paints only as much as can be completed in a day, which explains the Italian term for each of these sections, giornata, or a day's work. The size of a giornata varies according to the complexity of the painting within it. A face, for instance, might take an entire day, whereas large areas of sky can be painted quite rapidly.
In medieval and Renaissance Italy, a wall to be frescoed was first prepared with a rough, thick undercoat of plaster known as the arriccio. When this was dry, assistants copied the master painter's composition onto it with reddish-brown pigment or charcoal. The artist made any necessary adjustments.
Other articles related to "buon fresco, fresco":
... Michelangelo worked exclusively in "buon fresco" that is, the artist worked only on freshly laid plaster and each section of work was completed while the plaster was still in its fresh state ... After treatment, only that which was painted "buon fresco" would remain ... assumption that Michelangelo only painted buon fresco, that he was always satisfied with the result at the end of the day, and that in four and a half years spent on the ceiling, he stuck ...
... It is important to distinguish between a secco work done on top of buon fresco, which according to most authorities was in fact standard from the Middle Ages onwards, and work done entirely a secco on a ... Generally, buon fresco works are more durable than any a secco work added on top of them, because a secco work lasts better with a roughened plaster surface ... sometimes to add small details, but also because not all colours can be achieved in true fresco, because only some pigments work chemically in the very alkaline environment of fresh lime ...
Famous quotes containing the word fresco:
“No man could bring himself to reveal his true character, and, above all, his true limitations as a citizen and a Christian, his true meannesses, his true imbecilities, to his friends, or even to his wife. Honest autobiography is therefore a contradiction in terms: the moment a man considers himself, even in petto, he tries to gild and fresco himself.”
—H.L. (Henry Lewis)