German archaeologist best known for his work at Pompeii, Italy. Few details of his early life are known, but he joined the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, where he spent many years advancing the scientific nature of archaeology. He began excavating at Pompeii around 1860 and, together with colleagues Wolfgang Helbig and Armin von Gerken, played a fundamental role in uncovering the remains of the city over a period of more than 25 years. Mau's most long‐lasting contribution was a classification of Greek and Roman wall‐paintings into four main categories: the Incrustation Style (c.300–80 bc), comprising simple decoration that imitated coloured marble; the Architectural Style (c.80–10 bc), which was architecturally detailed, with realistic paintings of columns and ledges in correct perspective and with views of sacred landscapes visible between the columns as a mixture of illusion and reality; the Ornate Style (c.10 bc–ad 60), which treated the flat wall as a painting rather than a window and with mythological scenes presented in a panel against a monochrome background; and the Intricate Style (c.ad 60+), which combined architectural detail with scenes painted in frames and panels within the larger architectural scheme. Mau published many books and papers, notably Pompeii: its life and art (1899, New York: Macmillan).
L. M. Medwid, 2000, The makers of classical antiquity: a reference work. Amherst, MA: Humanity Books