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A novel method is elaborated for the electromagnetic scattering from periodical arrays of scatterers embedded in a polarizable background. A dyadic periodic Green's function is introduced to calculate the scattered electric field in a lattice of dielectric or metallic objects. The method exhibits strong advantages: discretization and computation of the field are restricted to the volume of the scatterers in the unit cell, open and periodic boundary conditions for the electric field are included in the Green's tensor, and finally both near and far-fields physics are directly revealed, without any additional computational effort. Promising applications include the design of periodic structures such as frequency-selective surfaces, photonic crystals and metamaterials.