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A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.
Some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are then attached to the wall (e.g., with marouflage). Whether these works can be accurately called "murals" is a subject of some controversy in the art world, but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century.
Murals of sorts date to Upper Paleolithic times such as the paintings in the Chauvet Cave in Ardèche department of southern France (around 30,000 BC). Many ancient murals have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs (around 3150 BC), the Minoan palaces (Middle period III of the Neopalatial period, 1700–1600 BC) and in Pompeii (around 100 BC – AD 79).
During the Middle Ages murals were usually executed on dry plaster (secco). The huge collection of Kerala mural painting dating from the 14th century are examples of fresco secco. In Italy, circa 1300, the technique of painting of frescos on wet plaster was reintroduced and led to a significant increase in the quality of mural painting.
In modern times, the term became more well-known with the Mexican muralism art movement (Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and José Orozco). There are many different styles and techniques. The best-known is probably fresco, which uses water-soluble paints with a damp lime wash, a rapid use of the resulting mixture over a large surface, and often in parts (but with a sense of the whole). The colors lighten as they dry. The marouflage method has also been used for millennia.
Mural on Israeli separation barrier
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