Art Chowder September | October 2021 Issue No. 35 Issue 35 | Page 73

frame of the giornata . But even virtuosi inevitably saw some parts that needed improvements or extra details . These were painted a secco , or on the dry wall . The artist also had to paint over the seams between the giornate , unless they were too far away for the viewer to see . The a secco sections were the first to fall to the ravages of time and overzealous restorers . The controversial restoration of Michelangelo ’ s frescoes for the Sistine Chapel in the 1980s revealed startlingly vivid colors , far brighter than even the experts imagined . But it also stripped away highlights and shadows that may have been the maestro ’ s a secco touches . No one will ever know .
The other contender for the title of Greatest Mural Ever Painted , Leonardo da Vinci ’ s “ The Last Supper ,” is not a fresco , although that is what the monks of Santa Maria Delle Grazie had expected . Had Leonardo painted it as one , it undoubtedly would be in much better condition today . The maestro wanted far more visual unity than could be possible in the fresco medium , and he was much too meticulous to be rushed . He also wanted the kind of luminous glow only possible with oil paint , which allows for smoky tonal
Michelangelo , “ Cartone for Crucifixion of St . Peter ” 1550
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