Master Class Techniques and Know-how
Module V - The Art of Mezzo fresco or Faux Fresco
Painting an Italian landscape and ornaments in mezzo-fresco
with Stefano Luca
We are delighted to host this fantastic workshop taught by Italian master decorative painting artist Stefano Luca who will be teaching the techniques of Mezzo-fresco. Focus on this year's workshop will be on painting a gorgeous panel depicting Italian landscape and ornaments. A great opportunity to study with one of the best in this field, not to be missed!
What is mezzo-fresco?
Chalk painting (pittura a calce), also called mezzo-fresco (Half-fresco) or falso fresco (Faux Fresco) is one of the oldest and most enduring artistic techniques. It’s closely related to the Fresco (Affresco), which is commonly associated with Italian art.
Fresco painting (affresco) is painting into fresh (fresco) lime plaster. The great technical advantage of the this technique is its long-term durability. On the other hand, the great challenge of fresco painting is the speed required to accomplish it.
Artists since antiquity have used other techniques in parallel with, or on top of, fresco painting. One of these techniques is the so-called mezzo-fresco, or half-fresco, where the artists paint with limewater on an already cured plaster surface. Mezzo-fresco was already used in Pompeii and it is during the XVIth century, in the midst of the Italian Renaissance, that it took on a greater value with exceptional painters, such as Michelangelo and Tiepolo. The advantages of mezzo-fresco are both the extended painting time and the larger expanse of wall that can be covered, which is why it was used for large landscape paintings. Tiepolo, preferred mezzo-fresco to accomplish large ceilings where figures floated against an expanse of unbroken sky.
The process of Mezzo-Fresco is simple, it consists of painting on an almost dry intonaco (plaster surface). The layer of paint is placed on a humid mortar so that the pigment penetrates very slightly into the material. This process rapidly became a standard and quickly took over the "true" fresco technique. In the past, due to their chemical and aesthetic affinity, the two techniques - fresco and mezzo-fresco - were often combined together (it was not rare to finish the fresco paintings with additions or retouching by Mezzo fresco techiques, or chalk paint).
Mezzo-Fresco is much less demanding than those of the buon fresco or secco fresco, its final rendering gives a softer appearance and clear colors.
During this 5-day workshop, you will not only discover this ancient technique, you will also learn how to apply the Mezzo-Fresco technique on canvas!
Learn a new technique and include a beautiful panel in your portfolio!
close up of beautiful panel painted by Maestro Stefano Luca
The focus of this course will be to have a pleasant journey to one of the most charming techniques of Italian painting - the Mezzo fresco technique.
We will paint a grisaille panel following all the traditional methods step by step and you will learn how to start from a raw sketch to the conclusion of the panel.
We will also cover some technical aspects: how to prepare the undercoat and the background of your painting, which pigments to choose and which brushes are more suitable and why.
Using a limited palette of color, we will see how to arrange an harmonic nuance in order to create a trompe-l'oeil effect.
By studying and learning how to use traditional materials to create a beautiful panel, it will not only strengthen your portfolio, it will also allow you to offer more sophisticated finishes to your clients.
Who is this class for?
This course is open to all persons who wish to learn the techniques of painting Italian ornaments and moldings using the Faux Fresco (Mezzo fresco) techniques. It will benefit those who already have experience in painting or who already took Stefano's Art of Italian Grisaille workshop with Stefano.
This class is offered back-to-back with the Art of Italian Grisaille, from May 18th to May 22nd, 2020.
Beautiful landscape mural painted by Maestro Stefano Luca
What you will learn in this course:
The following techniques will be covered in class*:
- how to prepare the undercoat and background of the painting
- learn which pigments to choose and which brushes to use
- how to prepare the support (polyester canvas)
- how to prepare the paint (chalk water and chalk milk)
- technique of transferring the design on the support
- technique of using a limited palette to create a trompe-l'oeil effect.
- technique of creating relief
- technique of painting the moldings and ornamental elements using the ‘Italian touch’.
- protecting the panel
*the program is for informative purpose, the school reserves the right to bring modifications if deemed necessary.
Organiser: Atelier Nadaï
Instructor: Stefano Luca
Dates: summer of 2022 - TBA
Duration: 5 days. 40 hours of class time (8 hours per day)
Location: Atelier Nadaï, 8 rue François Arago, 47000 Agen, France
Tuition: 980 euros (exempt of 20% French VAT)
► Tuition includes:
- Stefano Luca's step by step instructions
- Materials (acrylic paints, pigment powder, and other such basic materials)
- Surface to paint on (polyester canvas)
- set of polyester brushes
- cofee, tea and biscuits during breaks
*participants will be requested to bring their own sundry items such as notebook, pencil and pen, malstick etc.
For more information and to receive course brochure please send us an email.