Italy Tours

Italian Frescoes and why it’s best to learn

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As you know, we have two resident bloggers at Alcatraz Media — Lauren and me. I was reading Lauren recent post about Florence. When I saw that mentioned the Fresco Tutorial Tour in Florence.
My eyes grew wide when I found there was a workshop like this in Florence. I was in Florence, only for a day, but I would have jumped at the opportunity to learn more about frescoes.

To really enjoy art is to also have some understanding of how it was made. Many Italian Renaissance artists painted frescoes, so to enjoy Florence, especially, is to really appreciate the art of frescoes.

A real fresco is called buon fresco which is just pigment crushed into water on a thin layer of fresh lime mortar or plaster. Fresco secco, though very fun to say, is done dry plaster and uses a binding medium like egg, glue, or oil. There is also fresco secco on top of buon fresco, which is cool too if you’re into that kind of thing.

Here is just a few of my favorite frescoes, why their noteworthy to me, and where you can find them:

One of the best examples is, of course, Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The Last Judgement may be one of the most frightening and awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen.

He also painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling which means he covered over 5,000 square feet of frescoes, and that’s buon fresco. Michelangelo was the man.

My all time favorite is Fra Angelico’s Annunciation. It’s located in a corridor of the San Marco convent in Florence. I didn’t get a chance to see it, but would have sold my sister to. It’s perfectly located that when you look at it, the sun’s light looks like it’s in the fresco.

Massaccio’s The Trinity is located in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The fresco is known to be one of Massaccio’s finest work. A lovely example of chiaroscuro, the fresco brings a depth that only the best Renaissance artists can do properly.

Renaissance artists reignited the passion for the arts and curiosity in science, and to learn about frescoes or even see one of their frescoes will be understanding one of the world most important cultural revolutions.

If you’re ever in Florence, try this workshop. Knowing the artists and the medium in which they convey their messages will make your trip to Italy like you’re in a completely different world.

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