What is a Mural

Old religious places such as churches have fantasy-like paintings which cover the entire ceiling and walls and it would be astonishing to know that this a very old art form. This is no ordinary wall paints or paintings and is known as Mural. These paintings are extremely beautiful and are designed to involved other architectural components of the surroundings into the painting. The history of mural is very old and it is believed that art form started in 30000 BC in France. Murals in the ruins of Egypt have lasted from 3150 BC. These art form has transformed itself with time and still exist in 21st century.

Technicality of mural paintings

It is astounding to think about painting something huge and to go against the gravity to paint an unimaginable story. The idea behind the mural are taken from a story from any religious event or any mythology. Our ancestors have named and applied two types of methods

1. fresco– fresco is an Italian word which means fresh. In this method the painting is applied directly to the fresh plaster on the ceiling. Painting is pigmented and mixed with water on the lean layer of plaster . The plaster absorbs the pigment and when the dried paint comes in contact with the air and chemical reaction takes place. This reaction allow the paint to stick to the plaster for centuries. Lime is usually added to the plaster to prevent colors from fading. This is known as buon fresco. The other sub form was Mezzo-fresco which is just like secco form  as painting was applied on semi dried plaster. Michelangelo and Gianbattista Tiepolo were avid users of this method of mural. 

2. Secco– It is just opposite of fresco and is done on a dried plaster. The word secco is an Italian word for dry. Before applying pigmented paint to the ceiling or wall, oil or glue or egg was applied to the dried plaster in order to bind the paint to the plaster. Secco in some regions of the world is also known as tempera.

Painting material used for Mural1. Binding substance such as wax or adhesives were used to bind the paint. So, around 30000 BC wax and adhesives were not available so natural wax such as beeswax and natural adhesive such as resin of coniferous plant.

2. Egg yolk or diluted egg white  are used in the secco or tempera mural.

3. Oil was used in the later years as oil allows easy binding and doesn’t need any preparation.

The color pigments are mixed with the beeswax or resin and then the mural is done.  

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