STRAPPO D’AFFRESCO PAINTING TECHNIQUE STILL LIFE BY VALERIA CARLI
A particularly interesting and eye catching large still life study of flowers in a blue vase behind perspex. Signed bottom left V.Carli.
The reverse has the following marked:
Valeria Carli b1922 Italian “Viole” (STRAPPO D’AFFRESCO)
Approximate measurements inc frame: H:75cm W:65:cm D:2.5cm
Condition: Scuffs and marks to frame but in overall good condition.
We are happy to quote for shipping.
We have provided a rather interesting explanation of the Strappo D’arrescoe technique of painting. We can only assume that this technique was used to produce this still life. The plaster is clearly evident in this painting. A rather special painting we believe. At least quite different from the norm. A true talking point.
‘Our frescoes are all realized by our artists in their own studios. This means that, to reach your home, they need to be shipped: of course, we cannot ship them attached to the wall they have been painted upon. For this reason, we use a special technique, called Calicot method or, to say it in Italian, la tecnica a Strappo. This technique, which is recognized by the Superintendence of Fine Arts, has been around since the 17th century and is one of the techniques used in those cases when, for the safety of the piece, a fresco needs to be removed from its original location.
How does it work?
It is, in words, a relatively simple mechanism and, in practice, one of the least invasive available to transport frescoes, because it only acts upon the plaster layer where colors are absorbed, leaving the actual plaster base (called arriccio) untouched. The painting to transport is covered with a panel made with cotton canvas and animal based glues, upon which a stronger canvas, larger than the actual painting, is then placed. A large incision is then practiced all around the painting, well into the supporting wall.
Light blows with a rubber hammer upon the area help the detachment of this thin layer of pigments and plaster, which are then “torn” away from the wall (hence the name “strappo”, tear, in Italian) with the glue and canvas structure. The back of the fresco is thinned to remove all extra plaster, and a proper frame structure is attached to the front canvas, then covered with two layers of mortar, which form the real support to the fresco now fully detached from the wall. Once the mortar is dry, it is covered with glue used to stick the fresco upon a safe rigid support, which is, in our case, a strong canvas.
Once the structure at the back of the fresco is entirely dry, the protective cotton and canvas layers applied on top of the fresco in the early stages of the procedure are removed by vaporizing water and ethylic alcohol on the surface. This done, the fresco in ready to be admired! All of the items on this web site were first painted on a stone or masonry wall, on fresh plaster and then removed from the wall using the above technique.
Fresco painting is a very old technique. It reached the height of splendor during the Renaissance and was used to decorate buildings and church vaults. A fresco is painted on fresh (fresco) plaster made of slaked lime and sieved siliceous river sand, plus pigments diluted with plain water. The painting must be done quickly and skillfully, before the plaster base dries.
No binding agent is used in frescoes: this is because the painting is fixed and made insoluble by the chemical reaction between the calcium hydrate and the carbonic acid in the atmosphere. Frescoes, it has to be remembered, are different from murals, which are painted on a dry base.
Why we do not paint directly on the canvas
Some may wonder why we do not lay plaster directly on a portable canvas and skip altogether the Calicot procedure to strip the fresco from a wall. The answer is simple: plaster does not stick to canvas so, in order to “make it stick”, we should mix it with solvents or glues. The addition of these substances would greatly change the appearance of the painting, especially the intensity and depth of its colors.
To maintain the fresco just as it was conceived and created by the artist, we use the Calicot technique, through which we remove the plaster’s superficial layers – those retaining the actual painting – from its wall support, and glue it to a transportable canvas. By doing so, we only need to use color pigments mixed with sand to create our works: if you are a fan of the “antique look”, you will love the results.
The fresco technique gives our items soft colors and the same look as frescoes painted hundreds of years ago. Believe us: photos and a computer screen do not pay tribute enough to the beauty and uniqueness of these items, which do not look like oil or acrylic painting at all’.