History of Plaster

Lime plaster is one of the oldest building material known to man. Used as early as 900 BC by ancient Egyptians to decorate the palaces, temples and tombs of the pharaohs. It was later adapted by the Roman empire who valued it for it’s durability and anti mold-mildew properties as well as it’s natural beauty. Plaster in one form or another was used almost everywhere in the ancient world. It was during the Italian Renaissance that  Venetian Plaster or “Stucco Veneziano” was developed and refined. Used primarily on the surfaces of buildings in Venice, where due to being built over water, it was necessary to keep them as light as possible. A new finish was developed that resembled marble but was much lighter. A thin veneer of slaked lime putty mixed with marble, quartz or kaolin, and colored with pigment is applied to walls or ceilings in multiple translucent layers by skilled artisans. Today most experts prefer to call Venetian plaster a “technique” or “style” rather than a product. The plaster is applied in a variety of ways to produce elegantly mottled wall and ceiling treatments like those found in what is now northern Italy and many Mediterranean countries. Although some Venetian Plasters are polished or “burnished” to a sheen, It is through the artisan’s creativity and the refinement of technique that many different effects and sheens can be achieved, from matte “old world” to the highly polished Stucco Veneziano, Venetian plaster will turn an ordinary wall or ceiling into a one of a kind work of art.