Central panel (emblema) from a triclinium  mosaic showing marine life, the panel shows eleven different edible sea-creatures, all identifiable today, made using tiny tesserae in a technique called opus vermiculatum - (I cent.AD)  from Populonia, Tuscany, Italy - British Museum

Central panel (emblema) from a triclinium mosaic showing marine life, the panel shows eleven different edible sea-creatures, all identifiable today, made using tiny tesserae in a technique called opus vermiculatum - (I cent.AD) from Populonia, Tuscany, Italy - British Museum

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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

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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.

Mosaic Opus Vermiculatum

Mosaic Opus Vermiculatum

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

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

200-100 BCE Alexandria Egypt. Floor Mosaic Roundel: A Dog & An Overturned Gold Vessel. The quality is fantastic, and this period represents a high point in the mosaic craft in the Greco-Roman world. Many of the tesserae are only 1-2mm across, which allows the mosaicist to achieve a painterly effect. The technique is called "opus vermiculatum", or ‘wormy work’. The Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. I can't help but wonder if this wasn't the inspiration for RCA Victor's "His Master's Voice".

200-100 BCE Alexandria Egypt. Floor Mosaic Roundel: A Dog & An Overturned Gold Vessel. The quality is fantastic, and this period represents a high point in the mosaic craft in the Greco-Roman world. Many of the tesserae are only 1-2mm across, which allows the mosaicist to achieve a painterly effect. The technique is called "opus vermiculatum", or ‘wormy work’. The Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. I can't help but wonder if this wasn't the inspiration for RCA Victor's "His Master's Voice".

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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

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EUROPA ON THE BULL / ROM. MOSAIC / C1 AD. Mythology / Europa. Roman, 1st half of 1st century AD. Mosaic after a painting by Antiphilos (?) – “Europa on the Bull”.  (Zeus in the form of a bull abducts Europa, her father Agenor above). Opus vermiculatum, 85 × 84.5cm. Found: Praeneste.

EUROPA ON THE BULL / ROM. MOSAIC / C1 AD. Mythology / Europa. Roman, 1st half of 1st century AD. Mosaic after a painting by Antiphilos (?) – “Europa on the Bull”. (Zeus in the form of a bull abducts Europa, her father Agenor above). Opus vermiculatum, 85 × 84.5cm. Found: Praeneste.

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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.

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