Fresco is a technique where the painting is done when the plaster on the wall is still wet therefore the colors intermingles with the plaster and is permanent.
The Egyptians were the first to experiment with the fresco. The tomb paintings of the Pharaohs in Egypt are the earliest examples of Fresco.
Roman cities such as Pompeii and Herculaneum, witnessed some interesting development in fresco painting too. All wall paintings of these cities were in buon fresco (a technique using wet plaster and pure pigments, the pigments get locked under the calcium carbonate skin of the plaster,creating a long lasting painting).
The desert palace of the Umayyads in the 8th century houses one of the rarest and oldest examples of Islamic frescos.
However fresco came into prominence in the the late Medieval period and the Renaissance saw the most prominent use of fresco, particularly in Italy, where most churches and many government buildings still feature this method of mural painting.
The prehistoric Frescos of Ajanta and Ellora (India) are not only aesthetically pleasing but employ the most ingenious technique too.
Sistine Chapel in Vatican City houses few of the world's most famous frescos, namely those of Michelangelo's.
Michelangelo's Fresco-The Creation of Adam
This fresco on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel was completed in 1511. It depicts the biblical story of God the Father breathing life into Adam, the first man. It is most definitely one of the most recognized pieces of Art and redifined the parameters of Christian Paintings.
The bearded God is powerful and sinewy in this painting. He is surrounded by cherubs and a female figure who is most commonly interpreted as Eve , who is waiting to be conceptualised. God has right arm outsretched to transfer the spark of life to Adam, who has his left hand extended to receive the spark. Famously the two fingers (that of God and of Adam) is separated by a very little distance.
Adam is also a very sturdy and muscular figure, which is typical of Michelangelos men, who were strong and sinewy.
The Ajanta Frescos
The hallowed caves of Ajanta ,Maharashtra India houses probably the worlds oldest and most celebrated specimens of frescos.
The walls of the caves are covered with paintings suggesting a fair state of preservation from decay. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental. The themes are from the Jataka stories (the stories of the Buddha's former existences as Boddhisattva), life of the Gautam Buddha, and those of his veneration Frescos offer the painters with the joy of timelessness to the creator; the fact that the mix of pigments and plaster is permanent ensures that the paintings are durable and attractive.
Fresco is indeed the most preferable and chosen method of mural paintings, the works of great masters bear testimony to that very fact.