A characteristic of this later, more sophisticated mural art was the use of decorative features such as frames, borders and geometrical patterns, which might accompany the theme of the painting and help it sit comfortably in the architecture that it decorated.
In modern times we still see murals being painted, but now often as political propaganda or commercial advertising. The availability of wallpaper and other commercial decorative features has made painting an expensive option but fortunately there still exists a market for purely decorative murals. In popular culture spray can graffiti has created its own heritage of mural art.
The late Greek and Roman period discovered the decorative the use of trompe l’oeil – that is making a flat wall surface seem as if it is 3D architecture, simply by painting it on with light and shade. Impossible architectural fantasies became possible in the hands of an artist. In Pompeii and Herculaneum there are many surviving murals using fantastic trompe l’oeil. The technique really came into it’s own in the Renaissance period. Ceilings became decorated as skies full of clouds and cherubs, walls had balustrades and pillars giving onto fantastic landscapes with battles raging and mythological creatures roaming. …