The art of buon fresco goes down under

First frescoes in Western Australia

Armando Buontalenti
October 2, 2014

The art of buon fresco is an ancient painting technique that has been used for centuries by ancient cave painters to the Renaissance masters like Giotto, Masaccio and Michelangelo. The technique consists of painting on damp plaster with water-based pigments. When the plaster dries the pigments become part of the matrix of the wall.


Dr. Alan Pascuzzi, artist and art historian, who is an expert on Renaissance drawing, painting and sculpting techniques, is keeping the Florentine tradition of fresco painting alive with his recent fresco commissions—down under.


This April, Pascuzzi was called to Perth, Australia, to paint a three-meter-high fresco of Pope John XXIII in the church of John XXIII. The fresco was commissioned to celebrate the canonization of Pope John. He was also commissioned in August to paint another three-meter-high fresco this time of St. Joseph and the boy Jesus in the workshop for a church in Subiaco, Australia. In both cases, he transported lime paste, sand, natural pigments and even boars' hair brushes to Australia to execute the works.


Dr. Pascuzzi used all the techniques of the Florentine Renaissance masters, which included first making careful studies from life to eventually make the large cartoon—or large preparatory drawing the actual size of the fresco to execute the work. Using the cartoon as a guide, he used the same traditional methods for fresco by plastering the wall in sections, called giornate, and painting them before they dried.


The two works executed by Dr. Alan Pascuzzi are the first true frescoes of their kind in all of Western Australia and have extended the Florentine tradition of buon fresco across the globe. 

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