fresco

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fres·co / ˈfreskō/ • n. (pl. -coes or -cos) a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries. ∎  this method of painting, used in Roman times and by the great masters of the Italian Renaissance including Giotto, Masaccio, and Michelangelo. • v. [tr.] paint in fresco: four scenes had been frescoed on the wall | [as adj.] frescoed ceilings.

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fresco Method of painting on freshly spread plaster while it is still damp. In true fresco (buon fresco), paint combines chemically with moist plaster so that, when dry, the painted surface does not peel. Dry fresco (fresco secco) involves the application of paint in a water and glue medium to a dry plaster wall. It does not last as well as true fresco. The palace at Knossos, Crete (c.1700 bc), was decorated with frescos. Giotto and Michelangelo are considered to be masters of the form.

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fresco a painting done rapidly in watercolour on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colours penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries; this method of painting, used in Roman times and by the great masters of the Italian Renaissance including Giotto, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

The word is recorded from the late 16th century and comes from Italian, literally ‘cool, fresh’. It was first recorded in the phrase in fresco, representing Italian affresco ‘on the fresh (plaster)’.

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fresco painting in water-colour on a wall, etc., before the plaster is dry. XVI. orig. in fresco, †al fresco, †a fresco, repr. It. affresco, i.e. al fresco ‘on the fresh (plaster)’; see FRESH.

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fresco. Mural painting, carried out while the plaster is still wet and fresh (buon fresco). A wall-painting on dry plaster (secco) is a poor substitute, as the paint peels and pigments fade.

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