Definition of fresco in US English:


nounPlural frescos, Plural frescoes

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

    • ‘They evoke more than anything the monumental gravity of Masaccio's frescoes, which are themselves notably sculptural in their forms.’
    • ‘Rare paintings, frescoes and stone carvings present a marvellous panorama to the visitor.’
    • ‘Another few decades would pass before Filippino Lippi finished the bottom tier of frescoes left incomplete by Masaccio and Masolino.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, many of the materials that are relevant to the present discussion have already been assembled around the frescoes.’
    • ‘Most of the frescoes on the ceiling are gone, but there are ornate chandeliers.’
    • ‘The other, surviving, frescoes depict interlocking themes.’
    • ‘The peeling frescoes that ornament the living room of a manor house are all that remain to suggest its colonial grandeur.’
    • ‘Besides shedding rain, these hoods also protect small ink frescoes on the plaster surface above the window.’
    • ‘The art can still be seen in frescoes and ceilings of old palaces and temples all over the State.’
    • ‘The ‘wallpaper’ was frescoes by Paolo Veronese, acclaimed 16th century artist.’
    • ‘All were decorated with stained glass, frescoes, rich tapestries and paintings by the foremost artists in France.’
    • ‘Slovenia has an unusual variety of art ranging from Gothic frescoes to contemporary sculpture.’
    • ‘Seemingly every room inside has faux Corinthian columns and ceiling frescoes.’
    • ‘Aside from his many frescoes and easel pictures, Piola produced a great number of drawings that he sold to collectors.’
    • ‘This contains a veritable outpouring of medieval art; frescoes cover most of the interior walls and porch.’
    • ‘He then used the family fortune to reconstruct much of the two-storey royal palace and the frescoes on its walls.’
    • ‘Tigers, lions and elephants are regarded as auspicious animals and appear on paintings and frescoes.’
    • ‘Large chiseled columns support massive roofs and walls lined with carved frescoes.’
    1. 1.1 The fresco method of painting, used in Roman times and by the great masters of the Italian Renaissance including Giotto, Masaccio, and Michelangelo.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Life has its own rhythm, and so does fresco,’ he says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And this dining room is the most elegantly pretty in London, a marvellous fondant of gilding, marble and airhead 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.’
      • ‘But in 1843 Parliament did agree to adorn its new home, the rebuilt Palace of Westminster, with historical subjects in fresco.’


[with object]
  • Paint in fresco.

    ‘four scenes had been frescoed on the wall’
    as adjective ‘frescoed ceilings’
    • ‘He reportedly turned down an offer of 6,000 scudi to fresco a loggia for the Doria in Genoa.’
    • ‘The walls and the ceilings of the rooms and terraces are frescoed with allegorical and mythological themes.’
    • ‘Unlike many of the other sites frescoed by Poccetti and his contemporaries, the Chiostro dei Morti was seen by all levels of Florentine society.’
    • ‘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 tombs are hewn from the bedrock and many feature Doric columns and frescoed walls.’
    • ‘Bishop Alypy and Father Theodore worked assiduously to complete the frescoing of the church within 4 years.’
    • ‘Weddings are celebrated in the frescoed hall in the heart of the historic district.’
    • ‘The two grand salons and formal dining room feature high frescoed ceilings and large stone fireplaces.’
    • ‘His assignment, to fresco a dome depicting Mary, Queen of Martyrs, was again supervised by Francisco Bayeu.’
    • ‘In the twentieth century, even Brumidi's historical frescoed scenes were painted over when damaged or darkened with grime.’
    • ‘One of the rooms has a ceiling frescoed by D. Canuti with ornamental elements by Alberesi.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soon after its completion he was frescoing its facade with mythological subjects no doubt suggested by his patron's iconographer.’
    • ‘Certainly, he had no experience of frescoing on such a vast area, having for a long period barely touched a paintbrush.’
    • ‘Above them are large frescoed scenes whose weird photo-negative quality is the result of oxidation in the pigments.’
    • ‘It is a 15th Century building, settled in Cantù; the interior is frescoed and its decorated plasters have been recently under restoration.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 common areas include a frescoed sitting room, a reading room, a music room, and a beautiful dining room leading out to a lakeshore balcony.’
    • ‘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.’


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)’.