Nathalie Dagmang 2010-24702 BFA Sculpture

Use of Plaster in History
Plaster today is widely used for casting and molding methods in sculpture. It can serve either as the final product or a disposable mold that can be used for cement, wax, etc. Frescoes are very rarely made at present, but in early history, it is the most widely used method of mural painting. Ancient hieroglyphics were usually painted on plaster surfaces. The interiors of the palaces and pyramids of Egyptian Pharaohs also had plaster surfaces. The plaster that they used was made of calcined gypsum (powdery gypsum), the same material that we use today for plasterwork . Even their method of plastering on reeds is also somewhat similar to the methods we use today when we plaster on lath/woodboard. It was also discovered that animal hair was used to strengthen the plaster. The Greeks somehow altered and improved the plaster recipe of the Egyptians and also used it to decorate the interiors and exteriors of their kings’ palaces. One of the most extensively decorated palaces is the Palace of Knossos, where frescoes decorated grand halls and rooms. They used the technique buon fresco, where mineral colors were applied broadly to wet or dry plaster, bordered with bands of geometric patterns. One example of the frescoes found within the palace is the Grandstand fresco. People from the middle ages continued using plaster for decoration. Like the Egyptians, they used animal hair as reinforcement and used malt, beer, and animal blood to help alter the setting time and plasticity of plaster. In the early renaissance plaster was still used to make frescoes. A technique in creating the fresco, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise found in the Brancacci Chapel, used giomate. This particular painting used 32 giomate, with each giomate needed to be prepared and used within a single day.

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