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The History of Murals

What is a mural?

A mural is a piece of art that is painted on walls. It can be on the inside of buildings or outside for public display. They are large and take artistic expertise to paint them. The artwork incorporates the architecture of the building to bring out the painting and the building as one.

There is an ongoing debate on whether the drawings that are on canvases then put up on the walls qualify as murals. It is an artistic style that has however been in use since the 19th century. Murals are on only on side walls; they can be on ceilings and floors.#

Brief history of murals

Murals date back to 30,000 BC from the earliest paintings in the Chauvet cave France. The largest numbers of paintings are from Egyptian tombs in 3150BC, Pompeii in 100BC-AD79 and Minoan places 1700-1600BC. The whole period within which ancient paintings are is known as the Upper Paleolithic times.

Dry plaster is how paintings were put together in the Middle Ages, the 14th century. Kerala mural painting is an example of fresco secco. When the technique of painting murals on wet plaster took root in Italy, circa 1300, wall painting quality grew. It is the age where mural painting began to take shape and become modern.

The best-known style of mural painting is Fresco, but there are many methods and techniques as shown by the Mexican muralism art movement that took significant root in modern times. The pioneers of this movement include Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco.

Fresco technique of mural painting utilizes water soluble paints and lime wash. Applying the mixture on large surface results in a wall painting. Once the mixture dries, the colors take shape. For millennia, another method known as the Marouflage technique has been in use.

Today, people appreciate murals even more, and the methods are different. They now incorporate oil painting which is very popular. There are abstract paintings and trickster murals that are known as Trompe-l’oeil. The significant change came about through the works of Graham Rust and Rainer Maria in the 1980’s. In Europe, oil painting has taken center stage and is in private and public buildings.

Mural painting is revolutionary and proves that walls and ceilings do not have to be plain. Now, wall paintings can be shown by transferring the wall art into a poster paper canvas and then paste on a wall. The art or photographic image gives the illusion of a realistic scene on the wall.

History of mural painting techniques

Fresco paintings are the earliest method used. It came from Italy and came from the word fresh. There are two categories of the art. Fresco is whereby you apply paint on plaster on the walls and ceilings whereas the Buon fresco technique, you paint in pigment and mix it with water on thin wet, lime layer of mortar or plaster. The wet plaster and the dye mix, and when it is dry, the reaction with air glues in place the particles of the pigment.

Fresco Decoration Pictorial Mexico Mural Cancun

Once the process is complete, the painting can last centuries with the pictures looking fresh, and the color is brilliant. Fresco painting is on dry plaster, and therefore the pigment needs a medium like glue, oil, or egg that will fix the pigment to the wall.

Mezzo fresco is another technique that paints on almost dry plaster and came to be in the 16th century by Ignazio Pozzo. The pigment will drive into the plaster lightly and give impeccable murals. The mezzo fresco style of painting considerably took over the Buon fresco method.

Materials used in mural painting

Over the centuries, different materials have been in use for wall painting and the evolution of the techniques has also seen to the change in the materials. The earliest known is the tempera painting which then gave way to oil painting in the 16th century.

Paintings once complete in the old days did not have any protection from sun rays. As the materials and times change, the application of varnish and protective acrylic has taken shape to guard the murals against UV sun rays.

The use of POP clay is what young muralists are using. They mix it with glue to make them even more durable. When the clay dries, you then paint with the colors you want and even apply varnish for protection.

Technology has taken its place in the mural painting. Digital techniques are now taking shape in a mural painting like wall scape. Mural painting has been in constant evolution over the years, and it continues to evolve to incorporate the use of modern materials and pictures.

Advantages of murals

Murals are imperative in the world of art and the contemporary world because they bring art to the public and make people more aware of art. Murals are expensive and take a significant amount of time that is why for a painting to be put up, there has to be a sponsor who is funding the project.

Murals are also a communication tool. You can use a wall painting to communicate the message that you wish the public to know. The size of the painting will attract the attention of the public which makes it an effective way of communicating a message.

Murals affect the attitudes of the people passing by them. Everyone gets their understanding of the painting, and they therefore add aesthetic value to the areas that they are put up. They can be a tourist attraction that brings improvement to the areas.

Murals can also be used as landscapes, especially because they are vast and hard to miss paintings. Every painting is unique, and it’s hard to mistake one for the other. Murals are a way of expression for the muralists. It is their way of speaking to people and the world. They command the attention of the people and leave their mark in the area for centuries to come

Murals are continually coming up, and most people are now aware of the existence of paintings, their artistic value and their significance in the community. They take time and patience to put up and with modern technology taking over, the evolution of muralism is even faster than before.