Bio & CV
Painting Flesh
Wall Paintings
Buon Fresco


Isabelle Bonzom is an expert in buon fresco, a painting made with pigments and water on a fresh and wet coat of lime and sand.

She creates original frescoes.

She is the author of a reference book on fresco painting published by the French publishing house Eyrolles:
"La fresque. Art et technique"

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Her book, which was awarded a grant from the National Center of the Book (Centre National du Livre), is a study of the
history, aesthetics and technique of fresco art.

The preface is written by philosopher Baldine Saint Girons.

Review of Isabelle Bonzom's book, “LA FRESQUE, ART ET TECHNIQUE” in the French art magazine, “L’OBJET D’ART”, excerpt:

“With this beautiful book, Isabelle Bonzom, herself a fresco painter as well as an art historian, invites the readers to a stirring journey through time and space. She examines the various technical stages involved in painting a fresco, communicates information and thoughts, and deals with the aesthetical stakes of an art which is often anonymous although it sometimes bears prestigious signatures such as those of Masaccio, Michelangelo and Tiepolo. This is a specialized book, yet clear and accessible. It is written in a poetic style well suited to convey the passion which fuels fresco artists who work with natural materials and in a total symbiosis with the place where they paint. A book magnificently illustrated, “Fresco, art and technique” demonstrates the durability of this total art and its value in contemporary society.”

Joëlle-Elmyre Doussot, in L'Objet d'Art N°462, Nov. 2010



From 1993 to 2003, Isabelle Bonzom has taught buon fresco and mural art at the International Center of Mural Art at Saint-Savin, France. She currently leads fresco workshops for students and professionals. Over the years, Isabelle Bonzom has trained mural art practitioners from France and many countries of Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia.



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Buon Fresco Workshops in Paris

For more info about the Autumn session buon fresco workshop (on wall) in Paris (60h) click here.
Teaching will be provided in French, but Isabelle Bonzom can translate into English for non French-speaking participants.

"The "Octopus" fresco was a commission for a private residence in Provence, part of which is troglodyte (built into the natural rock). "Octopus" is housed in the basement made with stone, earth, shingles and tiles. The soil of the region (the Verdon) is made with clay and shingles. There are lakes around the house and I wanted to create a kind and aquatic monster, protector of the house. The theme of the octopus was also a good way to enhance the chromatic power of the buon fresco technique (only pigments and water on the wet coat made of lime and sand). The octopus is an animal capable of agility both in its body and in its mind. It lives according to its environment and goes through lots of changes in its colors and shapes. Those are the reasons why I chose to paint an octopus in that house, because buon fresco art requires suppleness and a sense of adaptation and it’s a play on metamorphoses" says Isabelle Bonzom to journalist Margalit Molnar Goitein.


Excerpt of an article by art journalist, Sylvie Montmoulineix,
published in "L'Art et sa méthode" #59, special issue about fresco, in 1992:

Please, read translation of this article below:

"Fresco without safety net"

"... Isabelle Bonzom makes use of transparency and quickness. She ‘prepares herself for the fresco’ with detailed watercolor drawings. She then executes her projects on the fresh coating, without transferring her drawings, without a cartoon, without any ‘safety net’ . . . This technical tour de force stimulates the artist’s concentration as well as energizes her style. The fresco can therefore, as it was, capture from life the gestural and the inspiration of the artist whose choice illustrates a personal demand that is in tune with a rigorous technique, - direct painting alla prima -, which does not leave room for correction. Although Isabelle Bonzom’s paintings are mural, they are not monumental; indeed, the artist attaches more importance to their location within a space rather than their size. The coating appears here and there, bare, as a background or a band of white in ‘Vie et Mort d’un Poulet’ and ‘Les Hommes de Saint-Maur’. In so doing, the fresco painter pays tribute to the lime mortar, the support of her work, a warm and living material that is unanimously acknowledged."

Excerpt of an article by art journalist Sylvie Montmoulineix, published in "L'Art et sa méthode" #59, special issue about fresco, in 1992.

“The limpidities of Isabelle Bonzom”

Baldine Saint Girons is a professor of Esthetics and Philosophy at the University of Nanterre, Paris X. An art curator, she is also the author of many books, in particular “Le Paysage et la question du sublime (The Landscape and the Question of the Sublime)”, Editions du Seuil, 2001. She has published "Les Marges de la nuit", Editions de l'Amateur

Read a translation of this article below:

"Why is it that the brush seems to understand the mystery of the support ? That is because Isabelle Bonzom is a fresco painter. She loves walls, their expanse, color, texture, and above all, the nimbleness of execution that they demand, once they have been “prepared”. Is it that the mortar is made of a lime as propitious to the birth of art as the white rain poured by the liming machine on the fields it fertilizes? Mural art requires, at the same time, an integration into the site, a sureness of touch and a capacity to anticipate. The brevity of the time allowed for work as well as the random and risky nature of preserving the retouches demand a specific concentration, as the mortar cannot wait. Light, thus, comes from the depth of the wall. Hence, an impression of freshness and vulnerability.
A fresco painter, Isabelle Bonzom is also a landscape artist. Her work is less about transforming the wall in its entirety than about acting locally by establishing strong punctuations that give rhythm to the space and redefine it."

Baldine Saint Girons, 2003

Click on Articles to read more of Baldine Saint Girons' text about Isabelle Bonzom


Read and see also in Writings by Isabelle Bonzom

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