Art Encyclopedia - Gesso
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Gesso is a powdered form of calcium carbonate and is commonly used in art. Traditionally gesso is mixed with animal glue and used as a primer coat for panel paintings with tempera paints. Gesso is suitable for use on wood or masonite but is unsuitable for priming canvas because it is susceptible to cracking. Acrylic gesso is a combination of calcium carbonate with acrylic polymer and pigment.
Sculptors use gesso to prepare the shape of the final sculpture or as material for sculpting. Gesso is also used as a layer between sculptured wood and goldleaf.