Roman-Style Fresco, Italy, 50 CE

by Elizabeth Abram, '00


While frescoes did not reach their height of popularity until the High Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the art was practiced long before. The first frescoes were carefully planned and executed, section by section. Lime was let to soak for several months to form a suitable plaster, then a section only large enough to be painted in one day was applied to a wall in layers so that the lime would not dry until evening. Mostly earth tones were used due to the bleaching tendencies of the lime on blue hues. A film of calcium carbonate would form over the painting as it dried, making the wall extremely durable and washable.

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