Marbleizing or faux marbling is the preparation and finishing of a surface to imitate the appearance of polished marble. It is typically used in buildings where the cost or weight of genuine marble would be prohibitive.
Faux marbling is a special case of faux stone painting, used to create the distinctive and varied patterns of marble – the most imitated stone by far.
Faux stone painting was widely used in Pompeii, but it really took off in Europe during the Renaissance with two schools of faux painting developing. The Italian school was loose and artistic, the French school was formal and realistic. It typically took an apprentice ten years or more to fully master the art of faux marbre.