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[fres-koh] /ˈfrɛs koʊ/
noun, plural frescoes, frescos.
Also called buon fresco, true fresco. the art or technique of painting on a moist, plaster surface with colors ground up in water or a limewater mixture.
Compare fresco secco.
a picture or design so painted.
verb (used with object), frescoed, frescoing.
to paint in fresco.
Origin of fresco
1590-1600; < Italian: cool, fresh (< Gmc)
Related forms
frescoer, frescoist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for frescoes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But he is almost untouched by the new spirit that was manifesting itself in Giottos panels and frescoes.

  • It was roughly plastered from the floor to the lower line of the frescoes.

  • A visit to the mangled remnants of his frescoes in S. Caterina will repay the student of art.

  • Two cards, not so large, with photographs of pictures and frescoes by Gaudenzio.

    The Samuel Butler Collection Henry Festing Jones
  • Four years at least, Signorelli laboured at these frescoes, although not consecutively, as we shall presently see.

    Luca Signorelli Maud Cruttwell
  • Then, he would be putting his hands upon some of these frescoes.

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • The Campo Santo is full of ancient tombs, frescoes, modern busts, and morsels of sculpture of all ages and descriptions.

    The Greville Memoirs Charles C. F. Greville
  • In the nave are the remains of frescoes of the Last Judgment.

  • The casino is decorated with frescoes by F. Zucchero and Muziano.

    Rambles in Rome S. Russell Forbes
British Dictionary definitions for frescoes


noun (pl) -coes, -cos
a very durable method of wall-painting using watercolours on wet plaster or, less properly, dry plaster (fresco secco), with a less durable result
a painting done in this way
Word Origin
C16: from Italian: fresh plaster, coolness, from fresco (adj) fresh, cool, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frescoes



1590s, in fresco, literally "in fresh," with a sense of "painted on fresh mortar or plaster," from Italian fresco "cool, fresh," from Proto-Germanic *friskaz (see fresh (adj.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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frescoes in Culture

fresco definition

A painting on wet plaster. When the plaster dries, the painting is bonded to the wall. Fresco was a popular method for painting large murals during the Renaissance. The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, is a fresco, as are the paintings by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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