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  • 10/10/2009

Mural Painting (part2)

mural in the library of chateau thal, kettenis, belgium by rainer maria latzke, 1987


In Greco-Roman times mostly encaustic colors ground in a molten beeswax or resin binder and applied in a hot state was used.

Tempera painting is one of the oldest known methods in mural painting, in tempera the pigments are bind an albuminous medium such as egg yolk or egg white and have been diluted in water.

In 16th-century Europe, oil painting on canvas came up as an easier method for mural painting. The advantage was, that the artwork could be completed in the artist’s studio and later transported to its destination and there attached to the wall or ceiling. Oil paint can be said to be the least satisfactory medium for murals, because of its lack of brilliance in color. Also the pigments are yellowed by the binder or are easier affected by atmospheric conditions. The canvas itself is more subject to rapid deterioration then a plaster underground.

Modern mural techniques

The development of digital wide format printers offered new time and cost effective production methods for printed murals and became an important alternative to actual, hand-painted murals in the last decade. Already existing murals can be photographed and then be reproduced in near-to-original quality. The disadvantages of pre-fabricated murals are that they are often mass produced and lack the allure and exclusivity of an original artwork. They are often not fitted to the individual wall sizes of the client and their personal ideas or wishes can not be added to the mural, unlike the Frescography technique, a digital manufacturing method (CAM) invented by Rainer Maria Latzke.

Digital techniques are also used in advertisement. A ‘walls cape’ is a large advertisement on or attached to the outside wall of a building. Walls capes can be painted directly on the wall as a mural, or printed on vinyl and securely attached to the wall in the manner of a billboard.

Significance of murals

 Murals are important in that they bring art into the public sphere. Due to the size, cost, and work involved in creating a mural, muralists must often be commissioned by a sponsor. Often it is the local government or a business, but many murals have been paid for with grants of patronage. For artists, their work gets a wide audience who otherwise might not set foot in an art gallery. A city benefits by the beauty of a work of art. Murals exist where people live and work and they can add to their daily lives.

Murals can be a relatively effective tool of social emancipation or achieving a political goal. Murals have sometimes been created against the law, or have been commissioned by coffee shops. Often, the visual effects are an enticement to attract public attention to social issues.

 State-sponsored public art expressions, particularly murals, are often used by totalitarian regimes as a tool of mass-control and propaganda. However, despite the propagandist character of that works, some of them still have an artistic value.

World-famous murals can be found in Mexico, New York, Philadelphia, Belfast, Derry, Los Angeles, Nicaragua, and Cuba and in India. 

 They have functioned as an important means of communication for members of socially, ethnically and racially divided communities in times of conflict. They also proved to be an effective tool in establishing a dialogue and hence solving the cleavage in the long run. The Indian state Kerala has exclusive murals. These Kerala murals painting are on walls of Hindu temples. They can be dated from 9th century CE.

The San Bartolo murals of the Maya civilization in Guatemala are the oldest example of this art in Mesoamerica and are dated at 300 BC.

forest mural in private home, england


Other links:

Mural Painting (part1)

Elements & Techniques of Sculpture

Ernest Hemingway

Charles Dickens

Charles Théodore Frère


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