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Method of wall painting in which water-based pigments are applied to wet, freshly laid lime plaster. The dry-powder colours, when mixed with water, penetrate the surface and become a permanent part of the wall. This technique is also known as buon fresco, or true fresco, to distinguish it from fresco secco, or dry fresco (painting on dry plaster). Early Minoan, Greek, and Roman wall paintings were frescoes. The Italian Renaissance was the greatest period of fresco painting, as seen in the works of Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Correggio, and others. Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's in the Vatican are the most famous of all. By the 18th century, fresco had been largely replaced by oil painting. In the early 20th century it was revived by Diego Rivera and others, often as a medium for political art. Fresco painting is also found in China and India.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fresco painting, visit Britannica.com.
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