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Fresken in der Oberkirche San Francesco in Assisi, by Cenni di Pep Enlarge

(Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi)
(Cimabue, Public domain)


For some, fresco designates primarily a mural of large dimension, but it is first and foremost a technique of painting. To paint with fresco, one applies paint diluted with water on a non-dried mortar filler (buon fresco). The peculiarity of fresco is that it is effectively merged with the wall itself: fresco and wall thus become one. The term equally designates the work produced by this process.

The most famous frescoes are incontestably those found on the vaults and walls of the Sistine Chapel. The majority of them were painted by Michelangelo during the 16th century and commissioned by Pope Julius II. The latter wished the still barren walls of the Sistine Chapel to be decorated. The fresco equally has an educational function as it tells the story of religion (Catholic in this case) to the faithful.

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