Incrustation

DEFINITION

Also called "masonry," incrustation is a style of classical Roman wall decoration in which the wall was divided into bright, polychrome panels of solid colors with occasional, schematically rendered textural contrasts, often veined in imitation of polished slabs of marble (see marbling). Of the few Roman paintings that survive, most are frescoes from the area of Campania in the vicinity of Naples, including Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns whose people, art and architecture were destroyed and preserved for us by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Domestic interiors were windowless and dark, giving Romans a need to visually enliven them. First produced in the 3rd century BCE, incrustation was the earliest of four styles of Roman wall paintings which have been identified.Example: Roman, Wall in the House of Sallust, Pompeii, 3rd century BCE, fresco, in situ. The second style ? "architectonic" ? from early in the 1st century BCE, included the use of linear perspective, creating the illusion of windows looking onto scenic landscapes. The third style ? "ornamental" ? first employed during Augustan's rule at the end of the 1st century BCE, flattened the wall again with sets of pictures as in a gallery, some effecting trompe l'oeil. The fourth style is a composite of the earlier three, in use during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.Related link: Art-and-Archaeology.com has a set of pages about Roman frescoes, with examples of all styles except incrustation.

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