place of our varnishing. Unfortunately, the whole technique cannot be reconstructed exactly. Not only do we lack brood examples of these paintings, but the contemporary writers who mention them, while praising the effects of the pictures, have failed to give us any clear indication of the methods by which these effects were achieved.
The decline in technique set in soon after the Roman conquest and resulted in the production of such primitive looking works as the Fayum paintings. And later, during the chaos which followed the breakup of the Roman Empire, the artists took refuge in Byzantium where in time the tradition was lost entirely. The art of encaustic painting was forgotten and even the knowledge of drawing became little more than a memory.