compiled by Linda Bien

Affresco (Italian) Fresco (English) Fresque (French)

Ariccio (Arriccio; Arricciato, Arriccato) - Browncoat - a tinted layer of plaster over the roughcoat (Trullisatio) and just under the finish coat of plaster (Intonaco) which will be painted. The sinopia or full scale composition is laid out on the ariccio.

Buon fresco - True Fresco - method of creating wall and ceiling murals with water colour on fresh lime-plaster so the resulting painting is an indestructible part of the wall, chemically integrated into the fabric of the building.

Cartoon - Working Drawing - full-sized preparatory drawing or painting which is transfered to the work surface to guide the painting.

Fresco (Italian: Affresco) - Type of mural painting on plaster used throughout the world since early times, but especially known from its high development in Italy during the Renaissance; hence the use of Italian terms to describe the technique. See also Buon fresco, Lime painting and Secco.

Giornata (plural: Giornate) - irregular shaped section that can be plastered and painted in one day. The shapes more or less follow the composition so adjoining Giornate do not not have obvious dividing lines in the finished work.

Lime painting - executed on dry plaster. The fresco pigments are mixed with lime water or slaked lime, and/or the wall is wetted down with lime water until the plaster softens or a paste of lime is laid upon the wall. Although it is a less demanding technique the resulting painting is more pastel or chalky and not as durable as Buon fresco. Often called Fresco secco or Mezzo-fresco. (See Note below)

Intonaco - Finish Coat - the final smoothest coat of plaster on which the painter actually works before it dries and hardens.

Mestiche - jars of pure water or lime water mixed with finely ground pigment in the whole range of colours and shades needed to complete an entire fresco, prepared in advance.

Pigment - insoluble organic or inorganic substance which gives colour to paint when ground and suspended in vehicle (or medium) such as water or oil. Fresco paint is suspended in water and usually made of earth colours such as ochres and other minerals that can withstand the alkaline action of lime.

Plaster - paste of lime water and sand or fine marble dust trowelled and smoothed onto a brick or stone wall; dries to a hard lustrous finish.

Pontate - rectangular shaped areas based on how much of a mural can be plastered and painted in one day as the frescoists work along a scaffolding.

Pounce bag- small cloth bag filled with pipe clay, chalk, charcoal, graphite powder or the like. Tapped over the holes created by pouncing to transfer drawing onto finish surface with neat, black, dotted lines.

Pouncing - technique of copying a drawing by pricking holes in the outline through which fine pigment powder is dusted.

Roulette - engraving tool with revolving toothed head which punches regular holes along the outline of the drawing to be transferred by pouncing.

Secco - technique of applying colours which are not resistant to lime over an undercoat, putting the finishing touches on a fresco after it has hardened. Tempera is mixed with adhesive such as gum arabic, casein or animal skin glue or applied over a thin coating of adhesive painted on the wall after dampening down the plaster. (Also used to paint entire murals on dry plaster. Results are not as durable or brilliant as Buon Fresco.)

Sinopia - underdrawing for fresco made with reddish, greenish or brownish earth colour with water brushed on the Ariccio layer, over which the Intonaco is applied before painting.

Stylus - pointed instrument used to incise lines on soft surface and transfer drawings.

Trullisatio - Roughcoat - the first "scratched" layer of plaster on the stone or brick wall; coarse, irregular surface helps succeeding coats to adhere well.

NOTE The term Fresco secco and its variations can be found in many older art dictionaries but experts like Pierlucio Pellissier in Montreal, Paolo Mora and Pierluigi Colalucci in Italy and other scholars agree this term and the term Mezzo-fresco should be not be used because they are self-contradictory and don't make sense.

In the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) the term Secco is preferred to non-accepted terms: dry fresco, fresco à secco, fresco secco, fresco-secco and secco-fresco. However in the AAT in 1999 the term Mezzo fresco was still being used. This is likely to be changed.

In our Glossary we have followed the terminology used in the Dictionary of Art.