Historic Background

Historic Background 2017-03-03T20:20:16+00:00

Fresco History

Frescos are the oldest known form of painting with origins dating back about 30,000 years to cave paintings, when stone-age man discovered that natural pigments applied to the moist limestone walls of caves formed a permanent image when dry.

Thousands of years later the technique had evolved to painting on wet plaster which enabled frescos to be used to decorate important ancient buildings. It was, however, during the Italian Renaissance period from the late 13th to the mid-16th centuries that the fresco technique was perfected and that famous masterpieces, revered to this day, were painted by famous artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael.

Historically the need for the artist to paint directly onto fresh plaster restricted the use of frescos to expensive and large scale projects such as temples, churches, palaces and prestigeous civic buildings. Through the centuries, as the walls of some of these buildings deteriorated or became structurally unstable, an ingenious method was devised to save frescos “at risk” by removing them from damaged walls using canvas and glue. (a process known as “strappo”). The frescos could then either be transferred to another location or returned to the original wall after repairs were completed. The traditional “strappo” process is still used by our supply partner, enabling authentic frescos painted at their specialist studios in Italy to be sent anywhere in the world.

The freso process

In the true tradition of fresco painting all our catalogue frescos are hand painted onto a freshly plastered wall by a highly skilled team of Italian artists.

Using the traditional “strappo” method of transfer, once the plaster is completely dry a canvass is glued to the wall using water soluble glue.

When dry the canvas is carefully pulled from the wall, carrying the fresco image with it in the form of a “negative” (reversed image).

A second, stronger canvas is then attached to the underside of the first canvas using a permanent glue, which forms the final base.

After drying, hot water is used to dissolve the soluble glue and separate the two canvasses, leaving the “positive” image firmly fixed to the stronger canvas.

The result of this process is a unique and authentic hand painted Italian fresco on canvas which can  either be mounted on a wide variety of shaped wooden board frames to be hung like a picture, or alternatively, supplied on a roll to be glued directly onto any wall, ceiling, or other solid flat surface including wood, metal, plastic and glass.

Each fresco is supplied with a Certificate of Authenticity, signed and dated by the artist, to guarantee it’s origin, materials, quality and design.