Palazzo Martinengo della Motella located in the historic center of Brescia close by Lake Garda.

Interi recently debuted The Spolvero Collection through the highly anticipated exhibition, Spolvero: Fresco Patterns Past and Present, a collection exploring the history and art of spolvero, at Corridoio Fiorentino in Florence, Italy. The exhibition was open from August 3rd through a collaboration with Florence University of the Arts and closed September 20th. The collection was long-time coming and a very special project that has been in the works for nearly 30 years.

Over the past few decades, Jean O’Reilly Barlow, the artist and creative director behind Interi, collected several original 18th and 19th century Rococo spolvero patterns that were used to create fresco designs and wall art in historical, prestigious homes and buildings in Italy. She has now used the prints to create works of art through transferring the patterns onto canvas through the giclée method.

“These spolvero prints have become works of art in their own right,” says Barlow. “These were once used to create frescos in a palazzo or beautiful building throughout Italy. Now I present this collection of limited edition spolvero designs so that people can have their own fresco pattern in their own homes.”

Spolvero is an artistic method of transferring a design from a print to the prepared surface of a canvas, panel, or wall. Holes are punched along the outlines of the original design followed by “pouncing” which is the application of powdered pigments that leaves a series of dots to create the tracing for the piece. This is then placed over the surface to be painted. This technique was initially developed in order to replicate recurring patterns or create frescoes and paintings. It was widely used in the 15th century during the Renaissance and many famous Italian artists used this technique including Leonardo Da Vinci. He even used this method to create The Mona Lisa. 

Pictured are fresco patterns and murals in the Chiostro della Scalzo in Florence, Italy.

Interi now presents the spolvero patterns in two forms – displaying the originals and also showing the prints transferred onto canvas through the giclée method and framed with antique wood moldings and precious gems. Giclée is a fine art method that uses natural pigments instead of dyes. Galleries and artists use this method to create prints. They are archival as they have a longevity of over 200 years. Bill Barley of Studio BB&A specializes in this method in the USA and helped Jean create this collection. The spolvero pattern is then aged by using a combination of ash from Italian trees such as cypress and oak to create a natural form of aging. This process has been used by Italian craftsmen for centuries.The limited edition canvas prints are available to purchase through the gallery and online through Interi’s website and 1stDibs.

“Through presenting the collection, the pieces continue to preserve the history and significance of this Renaissance technique while also creating works of art to grace any wall or space,” says Barlow. The exhibition premiered on August 3rd at the Corridoio Fiorentino gallery of Florence University of the Arts and was on display until September 20th. Barlow has worked with the university’s curation students to put the exhibition together. Through this event, Interi collaborated with FUA-AUF toward its mission to “promote and renew creative disciplines in a city renowned for its history-changing innovations” as the collection mimics the university’s vision to “deeply understand the principles of the past and how they are present in today’s context.” To learn more and view the collection, click the button below.


Photographs and Sources:

First image: The living room of Palazzo Martinengo della Motella photographed by Simon Watson and interior design by Paola Moretti. 

Second image: 16th century fresco patterns created from the spolvero method in Chiostro della Scalzo in Florence, Italy by Andrea del Sarto and photographed by Grace Barlow.

Third image: Interi’s Spolvero Collection piece by Jean O’Reilly Barlow and photographed by Grace Barlow.