I am creating a portfolio of painter's works and I need to categorize them.

There will be two global categories:

  1. Paintings on canvas
  2. Painting on walls and ceilings

The paintings on canvas divide into "Portraits", "Landscapes", and so on.

How should I call paintings of walls and ceilings in English?

Maybe there is some precise word? I haven't found it, using translators from Russian.

  • 3
    Consider mural or fresco. Here are some other types of wall painting. – Zairja Sep 8 '12 at 16:02
  • 1
    Also note that there is a difference between paintings of walls and paintings on walls. The former means the subject of the painting is a wall, while the latter means the paint was applied to a wall. – Jim Sep 8 '12 at 18:57
  • @Jim sorry, just a typo. :) – Edward Ruchevits Sep 8 '12 at 19:18
  • @EdwardRuchevits In that case, please consider editing your own question. – MetaEd Oct 1 '12 at 14:59

They are called murals.

A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

  • Thank you for your answer, but actually not every wall-painting can be called "mural", but only if it was painted on a wet plaster. Maybe there is more general term for all wall-paintings? – Edward Ruchevits Sep 8 '12 at 16:08
  • 7
    Every wall painting is a mural. It is a "fresco" only if painted on wet plaster. – GEdgar Sep 8 '12 at 16:14
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    @EdwardRuchevits I'm sure you know more about this subject than I do, but is it possible, as coleopterist's link explains, that mural applies to any wall painting, fresco refers to what you describe and secco refers to painting on dry walls? I defer to your expertise on the subject. – Mike Sep 8 '12 at 16:16
  • OK, seems, you are right. Thank you very much again! – Edward Ruchevits Sep 8 '12 at 16:17

The word you are looking for is mural, which per the OED is

A painting executed on a wall or ceiling as part of a scheme of decoration.

Etymology: a. Fr. muraille: Com. Rom. muralia (repr. L. mūrālia neut. pl. of mūrālis mural a., taken as fem. sing.: see -al1 5); cf. Sp. muralla, Pg. muralha, Ital. muraglia; also OFr. murail, Pr. muralh masc.

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