ARTS(F)400 Fresco Painting, Tiziano Lucchesi, Summer II 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS(F)400 Fresco Painting, Tiziano Lucchesi, Summer II 2019

Fresco painting is a class where the fascinating and time-proven process of painting on fresh plaster is taught. Beginning with the drawing of the first cartoon, students learn to prepare and apply plaster (lime + inactive), execute a fresco, and then how to remove it for transportation. The aim of this course is to provide students with a general knowledge of the development of wall painting, focusing on the buon fresco method (the art of painting on fresh, moist plaster) and the study of pigments. Students will also learn about all types of binders used in the decoration of walls throughout the centuries. This class is of great value not only to studio art majors, but also to art history majors, and persons interested in conservation.

The class includes trips to Renaissance and modern frescos in Florence.


Week 1

Monday, July 1
THEORY: Introduction to the fresco book.
Explanation of the “buon fresco” method, and the difference and development during the centuries. Lime circle.
Screening of my videos on the "Buon fresco Technique."

STUDIO ACTIVITY: Preparation of some type of mortar. Preparation of the drawing in black and white, cartoon (monocromo), and tracing design (spolvero).

Wednesday, July 3
Visit to frescos in museums in Florence (Cenacolo di Santa Apollonia or Chiesa di Santa Trinita).
THEORY: Pigments and binders.
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Preparation of the drawing in colors, of mestiche (preliminary colors) and the Sinopia.

Friday, July 5
Painting in Fresco.
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Live Demonstration, so that each student performs the same steps as the instructor. First day of FRESCO painting on first copy of Michelangelo. Students will spread the plaster where the drawing will be transferred with the ‘spolvero’ technique or by being incised. Transfer of the drawing to the plaster using the so-called ‘spolvero’ technique.

Week 2

Monday, July 8
Discussion and evaluation of finished work.
THEORY: lesson on old master techniques, binders and pigments. Lecture on organic binders used in different painting media and often applied on fresco after drying.
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Retouching of frescoes using "A dry technique.” Preparation of the dark plaster and relative design for Graffito technique.

Wednesday, July10
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Graffito Technique.
Preparation of the second copy, sketch in black and white, sketch in color, preparatory cartoon of the spolvero and the preliminary colors (mestiche).

Friday, July 12
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Individual painting of the second copy in fresco.

Weeks 3-4

Monday, July 15 to Friday, July 26
STUDIO ACTIVITY: Preparation of design for Final Project in Fresco Painting. Depending of the number of students in the class, the final project may be individual or a group project, designing a drawing to be made directly on the studio wall or in a proper location.

Project List

  • A minimum of two frescos paintings by the great masters on inorganic support, with relative drawings and chromatic designs, 30x30 cm.
  • Graffito 
  • Third fresco can be performed on special support so that students can easily take it home at the end of the semester. Depending on the number of students in the class, the final project may be individual or a group project, designing a drawing to be made directly on the studio wall (or in a proper location) or individual portable frescoes on panels.

Grading & Attendance Policies

This course includes the 4 assignments described above.
Research and short papers may be assigned throughout the course.
Scheduled due dates are subject to change.

Attendance is mandatory, absence will impact final grade. For every two unexcused absences, your grade will be lowered by 1/3 of a letter. Two late arrivals to class are considered the equivalent of one unexcused absence. Students who do not stay for the duration of a class session should be marked absent. Students who miss more than 20% of a course owing to unexcused absences cannot be given a passing grade for the course.

Grades are based on attendance, proficiency, effort, and improvement.

Grades range from A+ to F.  The SACI grading scale follows:

A+    Outstanding (con lode)
A      Excellent
A-     Nearly Excellent
B+    Very Good 
B      Good 
B-     Nearly Good
C+    Above Satisfactory 
C      Satisfactory 
C-     Below Satisfactory 
D      Unsatisfactory 
F       Failure 

Graduate Students
​Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.

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