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In architecture, decorative masonry achieved by cutting back the edges of stones to a plane surface while leaving the central portion of the face either rough or projecting markedly. Rustication provides a rich, bold surface for exterior walls. It was used as early as the 6th century BC in the tomb of Cyrus the Great. Italian early Renaissance architects used rustication to decorate palaces. In the Mannerist (late Renaissance) and Baroque periods, rustication assumed great importance in garden and villa design. Fantastic surfaces were achieved, as in vermiculated work, in which the surface is covered with wavy, serpentine patterns or vertical, dribbled forms.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rustication, visit Britannica.com.