opus sectile

The opus sectile consists of the depiction of animal or human figures, using slabs of two or three marbles. Marble pieces, therefore, have a larger size and are evaluated according to opacity, brilliance, colour, shades. Opus tessellatum, which can be found as an alternative to opus sectile, is one of the oldest procedures, also used in the Middle Ages. It consists in the use of marble coverings of different colours and divided into different shapes, usually geometric, such as square, rectangle, triangle, sphere, pentagon, hexagon, octagon and also floral or figured motifs. The term comes from the Latin “tessella”, meaning the small multicoloured pieces of marble tiles, or even glass and ceramics, assembled using mortar.