Ceiling painting, by Jean-André Rixens. Salle des Illustres, Le Capitole, Toulouse, France.

A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other 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,[who?] but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century.[1]


Jataka tales from the Ajanta caves, 7th century

Murals of sorts date to Upper Paleolithic times such as the cave paintings in the Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave in Borneo (40,000-52,000 BP), Chauvet Cave in Ardèche department of southern France (around 32,000 BP). Many ancient murals have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs (around 3150 BC),[2] the Minoan palaces (Middle period III of the Neopalatial period, 1700–1600 BC), the Oxtotitlán cave and Juxtlahuaca in Mexico (around 1200-900 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

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.

Murals today are painted in a variety of ways, using oil or water-based media. The styles can vary from abstract to trompe-l'œil (a French term for "fool" or "trick the eye"). Initiated by the works of mural artists like Graham Rust or Rainer Maria Latzke in the 1980s, trompe-l'oeil painting has experienced a renaissance in private and public buildings in Europe. Today, the beauty of a wall mural has become much more widely available with a technique whereby a painting or photographic image is transferred to poster paper or canvas which is then pasted to a wall surface (see wallpaper, Frescography) to give the effect of either a hand-painted mural or realistic scene.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Wandmalerei
العربية: لوحة جدارية
bosanski: Mural
català: Mural
Cymraeg: Murlun
dansk: Gavlmaleri
Deutsch: Wandmalerei
eesti: Seinamaal
Ελληνικά: Τοιχογραφία
español: Mural
Esperanto: Murpentraĵo
euskara: Horma irudi
français: Peinture murale
Gaeilge: Múrmhaisiú
한국어: 벽화
Bahasa Indonesia: Mural
italiano: Murale
עברית: ציור קיר
Nederlands: Muurschildering
日本語: 壁画
norsk: Veggmaleri
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Devoriy rassomlik
polski: Mural
português: Muralismo
Scots: Mural
Simple English: Mural
slovenčina: Nástenná maľba
slovenščina: Stensko slikarstvo
српски / srpski: Мурал
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zidno slikarstvo
svenska: Muralmålning
українська: Стінопис
Tiếng Việt: Tranh tường
中文: 壁畫