29 Jan A REAL FRESCO NEVER TIRES
Reflections are always important. Reflect, learn, and understand what is behind things: these are all actions on which to lay the foundations for living a knowledgeable and complete life.
That’s why, in this article I will briefly linger on – as I have done in the past – the concept of authenticity of a fresco. In particular, we will try to understand why the use of the “strappo” technique is so important for a fresco to be called such.
I first want to clarify what we mean by a fresco. A fresco is an artistic product that boasts a thousand-year old tradition and that does not know and cannot know mass production methods. Therefore, each fresco has an ancient history that should never be forgotten and that increases the exclusive and prestigious value of the product, even if it is painted in 2010.
Artists working at the Mariani Affreschi laboratory
In order to respect the history of this fascinating product we must imitate the original techniques and one of these is the “strappo” technique. Michele Comini, art technician at Mariani Affreschi, explains this technique to us. “After creating the fresco and waiting for the painted plaster to dry completely, a canvas is glued onto the latter and then “stripped” from the wall. In this way, a canvas is obtained on which remains stuck a “negative” version of the painting. The next stage is called the “retrieval” phase and involves transferring the “positive” of the painting. A second canvas is glued to the back of the stripped canvas, the first glue is dissolved, and the first fresco is detached. In this way, the fresco remains transferred onto the second one”.
Now that we know what this technique involves, we can delve further into the topic, and to help us we have one of the owners of the Brescian Company, Alberto Mariani.
How can you tell the difference between a real fresco and a false one?
It is very hard to see any distinctions with the naked eye, only an expert can see the differences. Generally, the colours are less natural, but the observer must have an actual comparison. The differences can be seen, nevertheless, over time: the false fresco is not very resistant to factors such as light, humidity, water, atmospheric agents, and the colour loses substance. At times, even in excessive climate conditions, the colour may detach from the canvas. The only basic difference between a real fresco and a false one is that the real fresco must be painted on a layer of fresh mortar, using the lime as a binder and the earth as the colours. It can only be painted when the plaster (mortar) is wet.
The strappo technique by Mariani Affreschi
Why is the strappo technique fundamental for a fresco painting?
An authentic fresco must indubitably be created on a wall, and therefore cannot be easily transported and repositioned in a home like a decorative element. The strappo allows removing only the colour and makes the painting easy to transport. Therefore, the painting becomes a marketable item, maintaining the chemical-physical properties of a wall fresco, but with the new fundamental characteristic of being on a canvas and of being considerably lighter, which allows it to adapt to any type of interior design requirement.
You are one of the few companies that still create “hand-painted” authentic frescoes. Why?
Because this makes us stand out from the mass, allowing us to be identified as a leading company in a specific market niche that we know very well; this means giving our customers an authentic product with all the relative advantages: beauty, resistance, authenticity. What’s more, the chemical reactions that occur during the creation of a real fresco (such as carbonatation of the colour) give the colours a soft and natural nuance which is incomparable, and makes them extremely resistant over time. As our father, founder of the company, always said, “the secret of a fresco is that you never get tired of it”.