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Fresco Paintings

The word fresco is Italian for fresh as in "fresh plaster". The artist painted upon a surface of fresh, thinly applied lime plaster with tempera paints. By painting upon the damp plaster the pigments of the paints were absorbed into the plaster so that when dry, the image painted became an actual part of the wall, not just the skin of paint upon it.

This method is extremely difficult to master. But this technique is ideal for interior paintings of large and dramatic scale. It's surface is non-glossy and the colors can be made brilliant and long lasting.

Artists' paints are composed of three basic elements:
- they provide the color and/or covering feature
finely ground organic and inorganic substances
- they hold together the pigment particles once the medium/vehicle dries away
Drying oils (lineseed, poppy, walnut) - for oil paints

Egg yolks - for tempera paints

Acrylic emulsions - for acrylic paints
The third element can be referred to as
Medium or Vehicle.
- it functions to keep the pigment particles suspended in the binder (and not clumped together) and to provide the needed flow for the paint to go from palette to brush and to the surface being painted.
Turpentine and/or mineral spirits (petroleum deistillates) - for oil paints

Water - for tempera and acrylic paints
Leonardo experimented with the use of oil based paints in the Last Supper but the lime plaster and the oil binder in the paints were chemically imcompatible.

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