Marine Life Mosaic from House VIII Pompeii demonstrating the vermiculatum technique Roman 2nd century BCE (6) by mharrsch, via Flickr

Marine Life Mosaic from House VIII Pompeii demonstrating the vermiculatum technique Roman 2nd century BCE (6) by mharrsch, via Flickr

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome | Opus vermiculatum is a method of laying mosaic tesserae to emphasise an outline around a subject. This can be of one or more rows and may also provide background contrast, eg as a shadow, sometimes with Opus tessellatum. The outline created is often light and offset by a dark background for greater contrast. The name opus vermiculatum literally means "worm-like work", and has been described as one of the most demanding and elaborate forms of mosaic work.

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome | Opus vermiculatum is a method of laying mosaic tesserae to emphasise an outline around a subject. This can be of one or more rows and may also provide background contrast, eg as a shadow, sometimes with Opus tessellatum. The outline created is often light and offset by a dark background for greater contrast. The name opus vermiculatum literally means "worm-like work", and has been described as one of the most demanding and elaborate forms of mosaic work.

Opus Vermiculatum Mosaic Pavement Depicting Dionysus (Bacchus) Roman 3rd century CE by mharrsch, via Flickr

Opus Vermiculatum Mosaic Pavement Depicting Dionysus (Bacchus) Roman 3rd century CE by mharrsch, via Flickr

Mosaic emblema in opus vermiculatum from Centocelle (near Rome) depicting an intimate scene between a young woman and a man with a naked torso, 2nd century AD, Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, Austria

Mosaic emblema in opus vermiculatum from Centocelle (near Rome) depicting an intimate scene between a young woman and a man with a naked torso, 2nd century AD, Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, Austria

Mosaic Opus Vermiculatum

Mosaic Opus Vermiculatum

Mosaico Nilótico - Arte Romano, técnica del Opus Vermiculatum

Mosaico Nilótico - Arte Romano, técnica del Opus Vermiculatum

A dog and a knocked-over gold vessel. Greco-Roman Museum, Alexandria, approx. 200-100 BC. The scene formed the center piece of a large mosaic floor. This period represents a high point in the mosaic craft in antiquity. Many of the tesserae (the little pieces of stone/glass) are only 1-2, mm across, which allows the mosaicist to achieve a painting-like effect.  This technique was known in antiquity as opus vermiculatum, or ‘wormy work’.

A dog and a knocked-over gold vessel. Greco-Roman Museum, Alexandria, approx. 200-100 BC. The scene formed the center piece of a large mosaic floor. This period represents a high point in the mosaic craft in antiquity. Many of the tesserae (the little pieces of stone/glass) are only 1-2, mm across, which allows the mosaicist to achieve a painting-like effect. This technique was known in antiquity as opus vermiculatum, or ‘wormy work’.

opus vermiculatum---taken from the latin word 'worm.'  It refers to lines of tesserae that snake around a feature in the mosaic. Often 2-3 rows of opus vermiculatum appear like a halo around something in a mosaic picture, helping it stand out from the background.

opus vermiculatum---taken from the latin word 'worm.' It refers to lines of tesserae that snake around a feature in the mosaic. Often 2-3 rows of opus vermiculatum appear like a halo around something in a mosaic picture, helping it stand out from the background.

-2eS, Pompéi, Maison du Faune, Salle 34 Triclinium 1er STYLE  Opus Vermiculatum: EROS ailé avec emblèmes dionysiaques chevauchant un Lion. Emblèmes: Âge d'or (coupe) + Bonheur dionysiaque (vin). Tradition grecque de célébration du Banquet

-2eS, Pompéi, Maison du Faune, Salle 34 Triclinium 1er STYLE Opus Vermiculatum: EROS ailé avec emblèmes dionysiaques chevauchant un Lion. Emblèmes: Âge d'or (coupe) + Bonheur dionysiaque (vin). Tradition grecque de célébration du Banquet

Opus vermiculatum - definition in the mosaic glossary

Opus vermiculatum - definition in the mosaic glossary

La Battaglia di Alessandro e Dario. Mosaico in opus vermiculatum, tessere policrome. 100 a.C., dalla Casa del Fauno, Pompei.  Forse copia di un affresco di Filosseno di Eretria. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

La Battaglia di Alessandro e Dario. Mosaico in opus vermiculatum, tessere policrome. 100 a.C., dalla Casa del Fauno, Pompei. Forse copia di un affresco di Filosseno di Eretria. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

panel triangular con un antílope (detalle del mosaico "Ganimedes y el águila") - Opus vermiculatum, Opus tesselatum

panel triangular con un antílope (detalle del mosaico "Ganimedes y el águila") - Opus vermiculatum, Opus tesselatum

Scena nilotica mosaico in "opus vermiculatum" dalla Casa del Fauno di Pompei - Museo Arch. Naz. Napoli

Scena nilotica mosaico in "opus vermiculatum" dalla Casa del Fauno di Pompei - Museo Arch. Naz. Napoli

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