Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A mural is a painting on a wall, ceiling, or other large permanent surface.
Murals of sorts date to prehistoric times such as the paintings on the Caves of Lascaux in southern France. There are many techniques. The most well known is probably "fresco", which uses water soluble paints with a damp lime wash, a rapid use of the resulting mixture over a large surface, and often in parts (but with a sense of the whole). The colors lighten when dried.
Murals today may be painted in a variety of ways, using oil or water based media. The styles can vary from abstract to Trompe L'Oeil (a French term for fool or trick the eye).
Famous murals and artists
The most famous contemporary mural is probably Guernica, by Pablo Picasso. Picasso's painting commemorates a small Basque village bombed by The German Luftwaffe in April 1937 during the Spanish Civil War in support of Francisco Franco's Nationalist army. Picasso depicts a nightmarish scene of men, women, children and animals under bombardment. Art historian Herbert Read described the work as "a cry of outrage and horror amplified by a great genius". The second most famous mural is probably the eight-panel Water Lilies (1926), by the Impressionist Claude Monet.
Northern Ireland murals
Northern Ireland contains arguably the most famous political murals. Almost 2,000 murals have been documented in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. Although the murals more often than not represent violence and intolerance, they are renowned for their professional nature and the incredible level of skill of the artists creating them.
Almost all of the Northern Ireland murals promote either republican or loyalist political beliefs, often glorifying paramilitary groups such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force, while others commemorate people who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks. Many artists incorporate messages of religious intolerance into politically-driven murals.
The most famous of the murals in Northern Ireland may well be Free Derry Corner, where the slogan "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" was painted in 1969, shortly after the Battle of the Bogside . However, some do not consider Free Derry Corner to be a true mural as it is only words and not images. Free Derry Corner has been used as a model for other murals in Northern Ireland, including the "You Are Now Entering Loyalist Sandy Row" mural in Belfast, which was a response to the republican message of Free Derry Corner, and the "You Are Now Entering Derry Journal Country" mural, which is an advertisement for a Derry publication.
Not all murals in Northern Ireland are political or religious in nature, with some commemorating events such as the Great Famine and other moments in the history of Ireland. Many portray events from Irish mythology, though images from Irish myths are often incorporated into political murals. A few murals avoid the subject of Ireland altogether, instead focusing on such neutral subjects as litter prevention and the C.S. Lewis novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Murals representing peace and tolerance are becoming increasingly popular with school groups who have children either design or actually paint murals in areas around their schools.
- A number of photos of murals
- Descriptions of many murals
- How to prepare a mural wall and protect the mural
- Political Wall Murals in Northern Ireland - extensive archive
- Painting Landscapes: The Place of Murals in the Symbolic - Neil Jarman
- Murals of Germany: The work of Gert Neuhaus 1979-2005
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