August 16, 2016
fresco (noun)
\FRESS-koh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : the art of painting on freshly spread moist plaster2 : a painting done in fresco
How do you use it?
The frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel are among the most famous ever painted.
Are you a word wiz?

English borrowed "fresco" from Italian. What do you think "fresco" means in Italian?

Frescoes are painted on plaster -- fresh plaster, that is. The plaster for a fresco has to be damp while the artist is painting. This way, the paint will soak into the plaster and bond with it securely. If the plaster is dry, the paint does not stick very well. During the Renaissance, Italians used their word for "fresh" in the term "pittura a fresco," which meant painting applied while the plaster was fresh. English speakers began using the word "fresco" in referring to this technique in the late 1500s, and by the late 1600s, they used it to mean a painting done in fresco.
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