About The Sgraffito Mural

Title: Triumph of Princess Ico  
Technique: Sgraffito on special concrete with 3 layers
Location: Nautilus Bungalows (Lanzarote /Canarian archipelago/ Spain)
Total dimensions : 190 x 1836cm


The Sgraffito Mural titled “The Triumph of the Princess Ico,” is based on the legend of the Queen Ico of Lanzarote island in Spain.

Summary of the legend:

When King Zonzamas was governing on Lanzarote, a Spanish ship under the command of Martin Ruiz de Avendaño docked. The islanders had prepared for combat when they saw the ship arrive but Ruiz de Avendaño a nobleman from Vizcaya came in peace with gifts of clothes for the king and in return Zonzamas gave the Spaniard milk, cheese, cattle, leather and shells. Avendaño was invited as a guest to the King’s house in Acatife where he met Queen Fayne and her children Timanfaya and Guanareme.
Nine months later Fayna gave birth to a white little girl with blond hair who she named Ico. The locals gossiped about the childs parentage and she was raised by her nurse Uga.
When Zonzamas and Fayna died, the Guanches declared Timanfaya was now the king. Ico had grown into a beautiful princess and Guanareme fell in love with her and they were married even though they were brother and sister.
In 1393, many islanders lost their lives or were taken as slaves whilst defending Lanzarote from pirates and privateers, among them was the king Timanfaya.
The Guanches did not know who should be successor, it should be Guanareme but they did not want princess Ico to be queen, her pale skin and blond hair was a constant reminder of Ruiz de Avendaño as and such she should not be allowed to wear the crown.
Finally they decided that Ico should be submitted to the smoke test. The night before she was to be imprisoned in a cave with three other women, her nurse Uga visited Ico, she gave the princess a sponge and told her to soak it in water and put it in her mouth before the test. Ico did what her nurse suggested and she was the only one to make it alive out of the somke filled cave. Her nobility was never questioned again and the throne could now in turn be passed on to their son Guardafia.

Sgraffito technique throughout History:

The technique of “traditional sgraffito” involves making incisions with steel punches on the surface . Throughout history, this technique was highly used especially during the Renaissance in Italy and during the late 19th century to the early 20th century. In our times, unfortunate, this technique has tended to disappear .

Sgraffito is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body twouccessive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing.

Sgraffito on walls has been used in Europe since classical times, and it was common in Italy in the 16th century, and can be found in African art. In combination with ornamental decoration these techniques formed an alternative to the prevailing painting of walls. Of late there has been an unmistakable growing interest in this old technique. The technical procedure is relatively simple, and the procedures are similar to the painting of frescoes.

 Sgraffito played a significant role during the years of the Renaissance in Italy, with two of Raphael’s workshop, Polidoro da Caravaggio and his partner Maturino da Firenze, among the leading specialists, painting palace facades in Rome and other cities. Most of their work has now weathered away. During the 16th century the technique was brought to Germany by the master builders of the Renaissance and taken up with enthusiasm. As a simple native art old examples of sgraffito can be found in the wide surroundings of Wetterau and Marburg. In Germany the technique is most predominant in Bavaria. The use of sgraffito was common in the creation of housing façades for the purposes of advertising.The technique was also used in Thuringia, the Engadin, Austria and Transylvania.****In Catalonia, sgraffito was implemented in the early 20th century by the Noucentista neo-classical architects and became a recurrent technique in façade decoration. *Another use of sgraffito is seen in its simplified painting technique. One coat of paint is left to dry on a canvas or sheet of paper. Another coat of a different color is painted on top of the first layer. The artist then uses a palette knife or oil stick to scratch out a design, leaving behind an image in the color of the first coat of paint this can also be achieved by using oil pastels for the first layer and black ink for the top layer. Sometimes a first coat of paint is not needed, and the wet coat scraped back reveals the canvas. This can not be achieved by using the oil pastel method.

This technique is often used in art classes to teach the sgraffito technique to novice art students. Art Nouveau: Examples of graphic work on facades saw a resurgence circa 1890 through 1915, in the context of the rise of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Vienna Secession, and particularly the Art Nouveau movement in Belgium and France. The English artist Heywood Sumner has been identified as this era’s pioneer of the technique, for example his work at the 1892 St Mary’s Church, Sunbury, Surrey. Sumner’s work is sgraffito per se, scratched plaster, but the term has come to encompass a variety of techniques for producing exterior graphic decoration.