Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Making Frescoes With Giotto

While covering church history during the Late Middle Ages, we revisited art from this period.  If John Wycliffe was the Morning Star of the Reformation, then Giotto di Bondone was the Morning Star of the Italian Renaissance.  He transformed art in the Middle Ages by making figures more realistic, instead of flat and static.  His work showed depth, movement, weight, volume, and perspective.  He also worked mostly on the walls of churches, painting on wet plaster, called frescoes.  We've done frescoes at home before, and it is super easy and fun.  Here is what we do:

Use a deep plastic plate or even a pie tin.  

Tape a sturdy, thin twine or string to the plate, allowing a long piece to sit inside the plate or tin.

Use Plaster of Paris or something similar.

Pour one cup of water into the plate. 

Add two cups of plaster to the water and let sit a minute.

Then slowly and carefully mix the water and plaster to get a smooth consistency.  We used a plastic fork to mix.  Make sure your string or twine ends up under the plaster, not on the surface.

You can even gently tap the plaster down by lifting the plate up and setting it down on the table.
You want it to set nice and smooth.

Wait 30 minutes or until the water is totally absorbed.  The surface is soft and moist.

Then the artist may begin lightly painting on the surface.  Do not press hard because it will dent the plaster.  My older daughter printed her image out on paper and then used a sharp point to make dots on her fresco, leaving a dotted outline image on her surface.

When they are done painting, let the frescoes dry overnight.  Then take them out of the plate or tin (they slide right out, so be careful), and allow them to dry completely for another twenty-four hours.

Finally, hang them up by the string to display, and enjoy!

Giotto, by Eva, age 7

A Knight Fighting a Monster, by Vin, age 8

Young Girl Defending Herself From Eros, by Sophia, age 11


Sharon Henning said...

I need to do this with the youth at church. I need creative ideas to re-enforce our learning. That last one is a little risque (!!) :)

Of course not any more risque than the paintings and statues we saw when we were at the Vatican.
Have a great day!

Ruth said...

It's a super easy craft, and the kids love it.

Yes, that last one is a risque, and in the original, the girl was also nude, except for her bottom; but my daughter covered her up. I guess she could have added something to Eros.

Sharon Henning said...

I was just joking. It all looks great! :)