A Brief Overview of the Pompeian Styles of Art

The Roman Life Forum

Pompeii is well known for two things- primarily for its destruction by Mt. Vesuvius, but secondarily for it’s magnificent art, which includes some of the most well preserved art from Ancient Rome.

Classified by the German archeologist August Mau in the late 19th century, there are four categories of Pompeian art, each representing the time period that they came. However, before we get into what these styles may have looked like, it is important that we recognize that these styles of art were not limited to Pompeii itself, but rather encompassed the entirety of the Roman empire as a whole.

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This first style of Pompeian art (pictured above), which Mau called the incrustation style, was characterized by faux marble in combination with other decorative elements, and the use of bright colors. This was done in order to give the impression of extravagance to visitors of the home, especially the cliens…

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