Venetian Plaster Explained

What is commonly called “Venetian plaster” is a technique used for the application of plaster to walls, raised or curved areas, and ceilings, to give it a wonderful heightened stucco type appearance and texture. This highly stylised method was perfected by skilled European craftsmen in the 15th-century area of Venice, Italy, from where its name derives.

  • It has stood the tests of time and is still popular right up into the present.

Specific refinements which involved in the method and the plaster compounds used have developed it into an artistic process which can be applied to modern buildings or remodelling projects.

How is it applied?

The basic technique for applying Venetian plaster involves using a humble trowel, a putty knife, or spatula to administer the plaster in thin, successive layers, which are then allowed to dry, before applying another layer.

The first layers must be somewhat thinner and smoother so the plaster will adhere to the applied area more efficiently with time. As yet more layers of plaster are administered, the aim is not to make a smooth surface, but patterns and textures into the plaster which are preserved when drying has finished.

A final thin layer of Venetian plaster is then applied for sealing any surface blemishes, and, after drying, the surface is softly  sanded to polish it and eradicate any more imperfections which might lead to any chipping or cracking.

  • The end result is a semi-gloss marbleising finish where the plaster has a beautiful subtle colour and texture innovations which change with lighting and different viewpoints.

Applying Paint

The use of Venetian plaster in Perth, can also include layers of paint. Rather than making use of only plaster, paint may also be put onto the surface of the wall at a slight angle in layers, giving the finished look one of texture and nuance.

  • The utilisation of paint will create a finer surface effect than plaster due to its lower viscosity.

There is also a hybrid method which involves the application of Venetian plaster by itself and then afterwards following up with a Venetian paint as the final layer. The more time spent working repeating patterns into the surface be with the use of both paint and plaster, the much more impressive will be the end result when finished.

  • The final overall appearance is one of artificially aging the wall or ceiling area and giving it a look of great beauty.

Various Styles Down Through The Ages

Because the wonderful art of Venetian plaster has been practiced now for over 500 years, there are a small number of different styles of this method which have come into play with their own personal histories.

  • One of the most popular is the “Marmorino” look, which is a Renaissance style which makes use of crushed marble and lime putty for those areas which allow for a wide range of texture and colours which resemble natural stone.

Whichever style of Venetian plaster you prefer, it will look absolutely beautiful anywhere!