Sweet Painted Ladies – Sgraffito Part I

Guarda and Ardez – Pearls of Engadin

This area of great beauty in Switzerland, called Engadin, is stretching from the Maloja pass to Zernez. Here, the language used to be 99% Rhaeto – Romanic, but today only 63% speak this old language.

These two genuine villages, Guarda and Ardez belong to the area of Engadin, and they are both painted in a very special style called Sgraffito (plural graffiti) – in Switzerland found only in Engadin.

Starting in Guarda, this village is pearched high up on a hill, and the inhabitants don’t want cars driving through the narrow, cobbled streets, so you have to park your car further down the hill and walk up.

The church is one of a kind.

Almost every house is painted and each in its own special way.

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

A closer look will reveal something of the technique.

Schweiz 3 695_copy

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 as well. Today there has been a growing interest in this old technique.

Many houses have spectacular, cobbled paths up to the entrances – I tried to figure out why – but maybe its only something common here.

Beautiful, grand doors…

…and other doors of beauty and solitude.

Guarda is by many people seen as the most beautiful village in Engadin, and it is also famous for its many drinking fountains. Useful this hot day.

No people? Well, due to the heat we were quite alone walking through the village.




15 comments on “Sweet Painted Ladies – Sgraffito Part I

Halva verket är läsarens - så, vad säger Du? As the second half is the reader's - I'd love to have Your line!

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