Fresco pigments

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Fresco Panel
MFA# 25.44


A group of pigments that remain stable and chemically resistant to the lime plaster used as a base in fresco paintings. The highly alkaline, lime base in fresco paintings may react with and alter the color of some pigments. For example, Prussian blue and Chrome yellow both discolor within a few hours. Lead white may turn black slowly. Other pigments, such as some ultramarines and Ivory black, may contain dissolved salts that will slowly leach to the surface and leave a white efflorescence. Examples of fresco pigments are: Carbon black, iron oxide, and Cobalt blue.

Detail of fresco(Shown above)
Detail of fresco

Synonyms and Related Terms

limeproof pigments; pigmentos para el fresco (Esp.); pigmentos resistentes a la cal (Esp.); pigments pour fresque (Fr.); pigmentos para pintura a fresco (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Kurt Wehlte, The Materials and Techniques of Painting, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1975 Comment: p. 254

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