Whether you've studied art history or not, you're probably familiar with the world's most famous fresco: Michelangelo's paintings on the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

To paint a fresco, you must apply paint to still wet plaster, and you better get it right the first time. Too slow and the plaster hardens, and then you've got a lot of chipping away to do. Fresco comes from the Italian fresco, meaning "cool" or "fresh," which describes exactly the fast, unlabored technique required of fresco painting.

Definitions of fresco

n a mural done with watercolors on wet plaster

Type of:
mural, wall painting
a painting that is applied to a wall surface

n a durable method of painting on a wall by using watercolors on wet plaster

Type of:
creating a picture with paints

v paint onto wet plaster on a wall

Type of:
make a painting

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