The Mezzo-fresco

The Art of Italian decoration week 2 - Mezzo-fresco

The Art of Italian decoration Week 2 - Mezzo fresco or Faux Fresco
Stefano Luca

We are delighted to organise this back-to-back 10-day workshop with Italian master decorative painting artist Stefano Luca who will be teaching how to paint Italian ornaments in grisaille.  Week 2 will focus on the techniques of Mezzo-fresco.

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.

  close up of beautiful panel 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:         May 25th to May 29th, 2020
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.

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Product no.: L'Art du décor Italien - semaine 2 Le Mezzo Fresco

Deposit for the Art of Italian decor week 2 - Mezzo Fresco.

200.00 *
Product no.: L'Art de la décor Italien - semaine 2 Le Mezzo Fresco[1]

Balance due for the Art of Italian decor week 2 - Mezzo Fresco.

780.00 *
Prices incl. VAT, shipping costs apply