The Art of Fresco
The American University of Rome
Area of Study
Studio Art, Visual Arts
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This course teaches the traditional techniques and materials of fresco painting, which have changed little from antiquity to the present day. The main focus is on practical work in the studio, where students will be able to experience all the steps of the fresco process, from
preparation of the stratigraphy to the application of the pigments, while explaining some elements of the science behind this technique.
The course also offers an overview of the history and iconography of frescoes. Visits to museums and churches in Rome, as well as analysis of case studies, contribute to contextualizing the students’ own work, at the same time allowing them to better appreciate
the technique behind iconic masterpieces.
Art Studio fee (includes materials) Euro 75. Students are also responsible for all entry fees.
Required Readings (subject to change).
Fuga, Antonella. "Fresco". Artists' Techniques and Materials. Getty Publications, 2006, pp. 99‐111.
AUR Library N7430 .F8413 2006
Mercadal, Trudy. "Fresco Painting." Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2017, EbscoHost [Link].
VVAA. "Fresco technique". The Story of Painting. DK ‐ London Random House, 2019, pp. 42‐45.
The required readings of the course can be found in the AUR library and/or will be provided to the students in advance to the course through MyAUR, within fair use guidelines.
A suggested list of further readings covering the topics addressed during classes is presented below. Further readings of the course will be provided to the students in advance of the course through MyAUR, within fair use guidelines.
Further Readings (subject to change).
Cennini, Cennino. The Book of Art, pp. 55‐78.
Torraca, Giorgio. "Lime and lime mortars". Lectures on Materials Science for Architectural Conservation. J. Paul Getty Trust, 2009, 50‐61.
Vasari, Giorgio. "The Fresco Process." The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters,
Sculptors, and Architects, 1550.
Gwynne, Paul, "High Renaissance Fresco" in The Story of Painting. DK ‐ London Random House, 2019, pp. 100‐103.
Course Learning Objectives.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Describe the process of fresco making, from antiquity to the modern era, as well as their materials and techniques.
2. Prepare the base for a fresco painting, appropriately handling and using traditional materials.
3. Paint their own work, effectively applying the traditional "buon fresco" technique.
Course Learning Activities.
Class participation (CLO 1)
On‐site visit participation (CLO 1)
Individual laboratory work for making a copy of a fresco (CLO 2, 3)
Group laboratory work for making an original wall fresco (CLO 2, 3)
Individual work: 30%
Group work: 20%
Digital Journal: 30%
Show participation & Studio Clean-Up: 10%
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Some courses may require additional fees.
Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations