Definition of fresco in English:



  • 1A painting done rapidly in watercolour on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colours penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.

    • ‘Besides shedding rain, these hoods also protect small ink frescoes on the plaster surface above the window.’
    • ‘Tigers, lions and elephants are regarded as auspicious animals and appear on paintings and frescoes.’
    • ‘They evoke more than anything the monumental gravity of Masaccio's frescoes, which are themselves notably sculptural in their forms.’
    • ‘He then used the family fortune to reconstruct much of the two-storey royal palace and the frescoes on its walls.’
    • ‘All were decorated with stained glass, frescoes, rich tapestries and paintings by the foremost artists in France.’
    • ‘Large chiseled columns support massive roofs and walls lined with carved frescoes.’
    • ‘There were eroded frescoes on the walls, and gleams of marble from corners where the weather had not penetrated.’
    • ‘Everything that is removable, including frescoes, will eventually go on display in a local museum.’
    • ‘Rare paintings, frescoes and stone carvings present a marvellous panorama to the visitor.’
    • ‘Seemingly every room inside has faux Corinthian columns and ceiling frescoes.’
    • ‘The peeling frescoes that ornament the living room of a manor house are all that remain to suggest its colonial grandeur.’
    • ‘This contains a veritable outpouring of medieval art; frescoes cover most of the interior walls and porch.’
    • ‘The art can still be seen in frescoes and ceilings of old palaces and temples all over the State.’
    • ‘Aside from his many frescoes and easel pictures, Piola produced a great number of drawings that he sold to collectors.’
    • ‘Another few decades would pass before Filippino Lippi finished the bottom tier of frescoes left incomplete by Masaccio and Masolino.’
    • ‘The ‘wallpaper’ was frescoes by Paolo Veronese, acclaimed 16th century artist.’
    • ‘In fact, many of the materials that are relevant to the present discussion have already been assembled around the frescoes.’
    • ‘The other, surviving, frescoes depict interlocking themes.’
    • ‘Slovenia has an unusual variety of art ranging from Gothic frescoes to contemporary sculpture.’
    • ‘Most of the frescoes on the ceiling are gone, but there are ornate chandeliers.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The method of painting frescoes, used in Roman times and by the great masters of the Italian Renaissance including Giotto, Raphael, and Michelangelo.
      • ‘And this dining room is the most elegantly pretty in London, a marvellous fondant of gilding, marble and airhead fresco.’
      • ‘Presumably, stucco decoration was more resistant to steam than fresco.’
      • ‘Southall, who experimented with true fresco and tempera, worked in Birmingham itself.’
      • ‘Thus, the art of fresco is necessarily piecemeal.’
      • ‘As King notes: ‘The technique of fresco was as simple in conception as it was difficult in execution’, requiring the painter to work quickly on wet plaster before it dried.’
      • ‘In the fine arts, the cartoon is a full-sized preliminary drawing for a work to be executed afterward in fresco, oil, mosaic, stained glass, or tapestry.’
      • ‘‘Life has its own rhythm, and so does fresco,’ he says.’
      • ‘But in 1843 Parliament did agree to adorn its new home, the rebuilt Palace of Westminster, with historical subjects in fresco.’
      • ‘The Adams Davidson Galleries in Washington, D. C., is compiling a checklist of Cox's works in oils, tempera, fresco, and drawings for mosaics and stained-glass windows.’


[with object]
  • Paint in fresco.

    ‘four scenes had been frescoed on the wall’
    • ‘Weddings are celebrated in the frescoed hall in the heart of the historic district.’
    • ‘Between 1686 and 1692 the rooms of the second floor were frescoed by Gregorio de Ferrari and other Genoese painters in a spirit of overwhelming, exuberant magnificence.’
    • ‘The tombs are hewn from the bedrock and many feature Doric columns and frescoed walls.’
    • ‘The main room in the tower is completely frescoed with the Cycle of the Months, a rare example of medieval painting on a nonreligious subject.’
    • ‘The walls and the ceilings of the rooms and terraces are frescoed with allegorical and mythological themes.’
    • ‘It is a 15th Century building, settled in Cantù; the interior is frescoed and its decorated plasters have been recently under restoration.’
    • ‘One of the rooms has a ceiling frescoed by D. Canuti with ornamental elements by Alberesi.’
    • ‘Certainly, he had no experience of frescoing on such a vast area, having for a long period barely touched a paintbrush.’
    • ‘He reportedly turned down an offer of 6,000 scudi to fresco a loggia for the Doria in Genoa.’
    • ‘In the twentieth century, even Brumidi's historical frescoed scenes were painted over when damaged or darkened with grime.’
    • ‘Soon after its completion he was frescoing its facade with mythological subjects no doubt suggested by his patron's iconographer.’
    • ‘St. Johann with its frescoed buildings and window boxes overflowing with brightly coloured flowers is a typically Tirolean town located in the heart of the Wilder Kaiser mountains.’
    • ‘Above them are large frescoed scenes whose weird photo-negative quality is the result of oxidation in the pigments.’
    • ‘In this same year, Giovanni Lanfranco arrived in Naples and the General of the Jesuits entrusted him with the task of frescoing the whole interior of the church.’
    • ‘The common areas include a frescoed sitting room, a reading room, a music room, and a beautiful dining room leading out to a lakeshore balcony.’
    • ‘His assignment, to fresco a dome depicting Mary, Queen of Martyrs, was again supervised by Francisco Bayeu.’
    • ‘Built between 1335 and 1338 by the Friars Minor, it hosts the central apse frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1452 and portraying the life of Saint Francis.’
    • ‘Unlike many of the other sites frescoed by Poccetti and his contemporaries, the Chiostro dei Morti was seen by all levels of Florentine society.’
    • ‘Bishop Alypy and Father Theodore worked assiduously to complete the frescoing of the church within 4 years.’
    • ‘The two grand salons and formal dining room feature high frescoed ceilings and large stone fireplaces.’


Late 16th century: Italian, literally ‘cool, fresh’. The word was first recorded in English in the phrase in fresco, representing Italian affresco, al fresco ‘on the fresh (plaster)’.