Magical American Fresco
Tenaglia, Susan, The World and I
An acient medium recalling both the very origins of art and the classic grandeur of the Renaissance is reborn as a key design element in contemporary American art and architecture.
In the small thirteenth-century town of Ceri, about twenty-five miles from Rome, the Academia Caerite holds workshops on the ancient art of fresco painting. Taught by Livia Monaco, whose family owns the Palazzo Torlonia where the workshops are taught, and Sheilah Rechtschaffer, a New York fresco artist and teacher, the program has attracted numerous Americans eager to master a technique as old as art itself. "It's really interesting," says Monaco, "but teaching fresco is more requested in the United States than in Italy."
The medium of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, and Fra Angelico, as well as the ancient Romans, Pompeiians, and Cretes, has indeed become one of the exciting rediscoveries of contemporary art. Architects, interior designers, fine artists, and art students flock to Italy to ponder works of the Renaissance masters or attempt their own small masterpieces. In the process, they are reinventing the art form to express their individual styles. As Rechtschaffer explains, "People always say to me, 'How dare Americans come to a place filled with the history of fresco?' But I feel it is engraved in the American psyche not to be intimidated by the past. We free ourselves from history. We have always attempted to be innovative. The contemporary American approach to fresco is daring and creative."
American art is not without its own fresco tradition. During pre- Revolutionary times, itinerant artists like painter Rufus Porter traveled the New England countryside painting "mezzo" …
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Publication information: Article title: Magical American Fresco. Contributors: Tenaglia, Susan - Author. Magazine title: The World and I. Volume: 16. Issue: 2 Publication date: February 2001. Page number: 96. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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