CEILING (OF_ Vr. ric 1, Lat. caqam, sky). The material, of light description, used to make the inner covering of a room or other inclosed space; and, by extension, the surface this top CIIVe ring.. whatever may be its material. It is usual to apply the term to Ilat or nearly tlat covering surfaces, and not to call the (lowed inner surface of a vault or done a ceiling, al though this is not a scientific restriction.
In Egyptian temples the flat stone roof, were used as symbols of heaven and painted blue. with yellow stars. lbands of hieroglyphs, emblems and tigUreS 4,1 gods. of the planets, the zodiac, and other heavenly scenes. in color. The heavy arched of Babylon and Assyria were stuccoed and painted, and apparent ly gilding was used in the sanctuaries. The that ceilings of Greek art were largely coffered and the wood surfaces were lailliantly painted, but with orna ments, figures. 1:4)111:111 ceiling-decoration combined to perfection both types—the flat and the curved surfaces. 'fie pictorial sense of Grawo-Roman artists seized on the decorative possibilities of the ceiling. From the great domes, tunnel-vaults, and gr((in-vaults of the imperial baths and the that ceilings of the tem ples and basilicas, down to the minor ceilings of tombs and private houses, all were covered ac cording to one of three systems: (1) the cof fered and paneled coiling, used both on flat and curved surfaces; (2) the stucco reliefs, mainly on curved surfaces; (31 the decoration by simple painting, also on curved surfaces, in what we choose poimlarly to call the 'Pompeian' style. The stuccoed ceilings of the Pompeian baths, of the tombs on the Via Latina, and of the 'Fame sina' house in Rome, show the exquisite taste and dash of these facile works. The elaborate painted ceilings of the Baths of Titus, discovered in the Sixteenth Century, furnished the models for the arabesques and grotesques which Raphael made so popular in his Vatican Loyyie. and which have been ever since in continual use. With the fall of Roman art, ceiling decoration disappeared entirely in the West. to be revived only after six centuries in the llomailesque period. But in the Orient there was no such intermission. ni the contrary. Byzantine art with its discov ery of marble, glass, and mosaic incrustation as a covering for the surfaces of vaults, added a hitherto unknown element of deep and rich color, which gave a mysterious diffusive effeet to the ceilings; and this was helped by its use of curved ceilings wherever possible, even in civil struc tures. Such are the domes of the P,avcnna bap tisteries, of Saint 3Iark's in Venice, and the (-hurdle, of Salonica and Constantinople. It
strikes a note of seriousness in contrast to the playfulness of Roman decoratbm. One impor tant fact is that Byzantine ceiling di-corntion is never in relief—always an unbroken surface. This same ideal—of curves and of deep surface coloring—was developed by Mohammedan art; Ion in the buildings erected in the style there were few unbroken line, and surface,. So we have the stalactite corbeling and geo metric surface decoration combined with brilliant coloring— more brilliant than that of the Byzan tine. \\lien, in the West, mediaeval art gave up its severe simplicity of open roofs showing the and rafters, and took again to decorative wood in ceilings, as well as to vaulting. the (leen ration of ceilings took two principal forms. Set tint; aside mosai•..., which were used only—and then seldom—in Italy; paneled and coffered ceilings, which were mu revived until the Renais sance; 4111(1 stuccoed ceilings in relief, were never revived at all there remained: 11) painted ceilings; (•) timbered ceilings. lit churches the vaulting had frequently a blue ground, as a symbol of the heavenly vault, and its surface, were as completely covered with sub jects of religious art as were the walls. The commonest media.val vault was the groin vault, and its groins or ribs generally formed the divid lines in the decoration. as in Saint Francis at _Assisi. The more arehitectural decoration of mcdhcval ceiling surfaces is described under VA LTINI% These ceilings of painted masonry, being exceedingly durable. have been preserved in great numbers: but of the wooden timbered ceilings, usually carved and painted, with pie turesque play of light and shade. there are ex tant but a few early examples—as the Capella !'elation in Palermo and Saint :Michael's in llil desheini (Twelfth Century). They became nu merous only in the latest Gothic period, and the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries are their Golden .,1ge in the north of Europe. Superb examibles exist in England from the Elizabethan Age. „Meanwhile the Italian Benaissanee had evolved an interesting type of flat beveled ceil ings for its palace halls, which the frescoists decorated with all the skill of masters in per spective. Their designs of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries were especially charming and were copied in Franee. Even such famous paintings as Guido's "Aurora" were among them. Correggio and his school were fatuous 'illusion ists' in ceiling frescoes.