There was one a watercolour that hung in front of a large frescoed wall. One day, it decided to start a war with its rival, so it began muttering: “Hey, fresco, don’t think you are the king of this room just because people who enter look at you and exclaim open-mouthed, “Oh, how beautiful!” and then look at me and say, “How sweet!”
You should know dear fresco that my artist created me with special materials, using layers and methods not easy to define or execute. Let me explain myself better and “my dear wall facing me” listen well. “My body is made of paper, certainly not any kind of paper, but fine paper with a refined cellulose, compact, soft and white to the point of absorbing colour (my “clothes”) and taking advantage, like the brightness and light, of my white body. My painter used a water-soaked sponge to wet the paper so that the colour expanded to obtain special subtle effects.”
Il Giudizio universale, affresco di Michelangelo nella Cappella Sistina

The Last Judgement, Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel

Answers the fresco: “My body, the wall, consists of lime and sand: lime of the highest quality, course, oily and aged; the river sand has been sifted and washed. My body (the wall) must also absorb the colour and the painter moistens me with water so that he can paint with fluency and so that I do not dry. The lime fixes the colours which become bright and luminous.”
Retorts the watercolour: “My colours are dissolved with water and applied with soft velvety brushes. You know my dear fresco, I am a valuable painting.”
Answers the fresco: “Do you really think this makes you special? My colours are pure powders dissolved with water, one part of the brushes has bristles, and the other parts, for the glazing, are soft, like yours.”
Exclaims the watercolour: “Now I will really impress you! If a painter is not an expert, or better, is not very experienced, he cannot create me because if he makes a mistake when applying the colour, it cannot be erased or corrected because the paper absorbs the colour, blocking and fixing it.
Albrecht Dürer, Cortile del castello di Innsbruck, 1494, acquerello, Vienna, Albertina

Albrecht Dürer, Courtyard of the Innsbruck Castle, 1494, watercolour, Vienna, Albertina

Therefore, he must be convinced and accurate. Can you see the beautiful patches of colour! What freshness! The light radiates from the white sheet: there are no second thoughts.”
Replies the fresco: “If you continue with this defiant tone, I will unhook you from your nail! You are taking the words out of my mouth! My wall also absorbs and blocks the colour and shortly after, with the start of the carbonatation process, immediately fixes the pigment layer. The painter cannot put too many colours on top of each other (in one day) but must carefully check the application time and quantity. Therefore, he must be:
1) decisive
2) skilful
3) fast
The result is soft, harmonious, transparent and luminous patches.”
A long silence reigned after this little quarrel between the two contenders. The fresco finally breaks the silence: “Dear watercolour, let’s put the cards on the table. We have many things in common, therefore, the only difference, besides the matter of the paper or wall, is size. Our main aim is to make our observers happy, and anyway, without us this room would be very cold.”
  • lucia schiavone
    Posted at 13:13h, 27 May

    sono un autodidatta sessantenne pensionata, insegnavo lettre alle medie, ho sempre amato l’arte e seguire lezioni sui grandi, acquerello è una mia passione, il quadro ha una luce naturale, eseguito con grade tecnica.

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