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1-2(13-14)/2003, p. 49

Marzanna Jagiełło-Kołaczyk
Historical, technical, technological and artistic aspects of sgraffito

    The article presents one of the most popular methods of decorating building elevations in Central Europe in the period of Renaissance, thus obtaining the final effect called sgraffito. The prevailing style of sgraffito decoration embraced almost all of Europe. It was especially popular in Italy which was the cradle of this manner of ornamenting walls – also in Austria, Switzerland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and southern Germany. Sgraffito also appears in Spain and the Scandinavian countries. Walls of buildings of various functions were thus ornamented (amongst them: castles, palaces, mansions, churches, town halls, tenement houses also defensive walls). 
    The presentation has a many-trend character. The technique and technology of the decoration, in the historical aspect, are described first of all also the state of investigations on sgraffito technique and technology – since they were undertaken in the second half of the 19th century. Attention has been drawn to the technological differentiation of the sgraffito ornament in various countries and regions. Reference has been made to new technological solutions which appeared in the 19th century.  
    Functions fulfilled by sgraffito ornamentation have been discussed in the second part of the article, attention has been drawn to the individual features in particular countries. The causes of these differences have been pointed out. Sgraffito designs and composition systems have been presented – demonstrating the trends of their development as well as local peculiarities and tastes. It has been shown that, for the first time, figural sgraffito compositions were carried out in Austria and southern Germany, inspired by painted decoration fashionable in this area.
    Reference has been made to iconographic issues while defining the subjects presented also pointing to the models of the figural compositions.