Venetian Plaster

Venetian Plaster Details

Venetian Plaster is popularly known as Italian decorative plaster. Venetian plaster is composed of a thin layer of slaked lime putty, which is normally mixed with quartz, marble, or kaolin, and then the colouring is done using a pigment. There are different ways of applying Venetian plaster and it can create highly elegant and mottled walls as well as ceilings. This type of plastering has been widely in use in northern Italy in the last millennium.

Most common Venetian plastering techniques include Tadelakt, Stucco Veneziano, Scagliola, Marmorino, Sgraffitto, Spatolato, Marezzo, and Kurra.

A Brief History of Venetian Plaster

One of the oldest materials used in construction is the lime plaster and its use can well be dated back to almost 9,500. The early use of lime plaster was more prominent in Jordan and then the Romans used it by mixing it with marble dust, which is quite similar to some of the modern day techniques. There is historical evidence of the use of slaked lime putty during the middle ages. There is documented evidence of the use of Mantovano finish in 1100AD as well as the Marmorino finish, which was re-introduced in Venice post Renaissance. By the beginning of the 17th century, a highly polished technique of Venetian plastering known as the Stucco Veneziano found prominence in the palaces of Venice. The evidence of the use of Venetian plaster can be seen on some of the Roman structures still existing in modern Italy as well as in the villas of Pompei.

Venetian plaster is popularly known as the classic stucco plaster. 

The Marmorino Veneziano PlasteringTechnique

There are several Venetian plaster techniques that have been used since the 16th century while some are even used in the modern day as well. One of the popular techniques is known as Marmorino Veneziano, which is basically a Venetian plaster decoration that is mainly used on walls. The use of Marmorino Veneziano can be traced back to the Roman Civilization but it was only during the Renaissance period in Venice that it gained popularity.

Marmorino Veneziano is mainly made from a mixture of crushed marble and lime putty and this can easily be tinted to provide a myriad of colours. This was mainly used for creating different types of textures that varied from natural colours to stone effects and polished marble. It use was widely spread in Italy and over the years the appeal has spread across the oceans to North America. It is considered as a high-end Venetian plaster technique due to the fact that it requires longer duration of workmanship. The modern day use can be seen in public or government buildings, restaurants, bars, and mansions among others.

One of the greatest advantages of using the Marmorino Veneziano Venetian plaster technique is that it has anti-bacterial as well as water-proofing qualities and not to mention the fact that it has an appeasing visual effect. It can be used for the interiors as well as exteriors to heighten the overall effect.

The Scagliola technique came into fashion in 17th century Tuscany.

The Scagliola Plastering Technique

The Scagliola technique is another type of Venetian plaster technique that has been widely used for producing sculptures, stucco columns, and different forms of architectural elements, which have a faint resemblance to marble. It became quite a fashion in Tuscany during the 17th century and was considered as an effective substitute to marble inlays. There is enough evidence of the use of scagliola decoration in the 16th century as well and more prominently in the ancient Roman architecture.

Another interesting technique is called the Marezzo marble technique. The Marezzo marble is basically a type of Venetian plaster that imitates marble. This is applied on the walls and ceilings in order to bring the desired marble effect and is mostly used in palaces and museum buildings.  

Applying Venetian Plaster

There are different types of tools used for applying plaster and for Venetian plaster the most applicable tool is the trowel. To get a good finish, two coats of Venetian plaster needs to be applied. The first coat should be very thin and smooth followed by a second thin coat with short and long overlapping strokes. Some plasterers even use more than two coats of Venetian plaster as well depending on the requirement. Once the coat has dried, you can use a decorative stucco finish effect to give the wall a new and stunning look. At the end, you can apply wax to produce a classic and royal finish.