Definition of gesso in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈjesō/

noun (plural gessoes)

A hard compound of plaster of Paris or whiting in glue, used in sculpture or as a base for gilding or painting on wood.
Example sentences
  • By the fifteenth century, many Western artists were using it in frescoes or in gesso on wood panel paintings.
  • Emulating the old masters, he used tempera and oil over gesso on wood, then covered the surface with transparent glaze.
  • Executed in egg tempera and gesso on panel rather than the acrylics and oils for which the artist is best known, these new paintings exhibit a sensual luminosity not previously seen in his work.



Example sentences
  • Other versions are realized in egg tempera on gessoed panels.
  • It transformed rich black walnut, oak, cherry and other hardwoods into plain, gessoed and gilded frames.
  • His highly crafted paintings consist of 30 to 50 smoothed and sanded coats of oil, graphite and pigment layered over gessoed wood.


Late 16th century: Italian, from Latin gypsum (see gypsum).

Words that rhyme with gesso


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ges·so

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.