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Floor mosaic depicting birds, fish and fruit basket. Opus vermiculatum, Roman artwork of the end of the Ist century AD/begin of the Ist century BC. National Museum of Rome.


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

from BarkPost

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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".


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.


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

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.


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.