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Fresco Cycles

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Frescoes are an Italian invention that combine the skilled preparation of walls with the mastery of the painter. In a single day (“giornata”) a fairly large area of “intonaco” (the final layer of plaster) can be painted “a buon fresco”. The paint penetrates the plaster, becoming a permanent part of the wall, unless problems arise and these would be due mostly to inadequate roof maintenance. Only in Italy have some artists been designated with names that relate to their ability to paint quickly: “fa presto” [works quickly] or “presto e bene” [fast and good]. Proof that the Piedmontese were equally skilled can be seen in the ancient paintings brought to light in the attic of Sant’Orso, in Aosta, and in Mattia Bortoloni’s magnificent decorative cycle for the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, but we might also mention Jaquerio in Ranverso, Spanzotti in Ivrea, Gaudenzio and Tanzio in Varallo, Pozzo in Mondovì, and Aliberti in Asti).

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