Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mosaics Through History

It has been a technique in art, specifically decorative art, usually used indoors, on all sorts of buildings. From small ones to huge cathedrals. It consists of small pieces, usually in the form of a rectangle, made from several different materials, stone and glass for example, and always in many colors. Colors are what make them special, and the same can be used to create a pattern or even a bigger picture.

I am talking about mosaics of course. They have existed for the last 5000 years, since the first states in Mesopotamia. They were made of stone, ivory and shells in those days. But, mosaic patterns were not used until the age of the Roman Empire, which is more than two thousand years later. In the beginning, just a few were in color, but they were still very appealing.

Nevertheless, they became popular when the most respected art was developing, the one in ancient Greece and Rome. Large mosaics were made, usually depicting a story about some mythological creature, a God, demigod, etc. What was usually portrayed back then, it wasn't anything revolutionary of course. Mosaics weren't as prestige as paintings were, but they were still popular. Many rich Romans had them in their own villas all across the Empire.

As it always is with most things, others started using them, copying or creating something new, but this, as most other forms, was never made obsolete. No form of art can become obsolete. Thus, the first Christians started implementing mosaics in their art, first in small basilicas, then later in churches and so on. Many Roman buildings with mosaics were simply converted into Christian ones. But of course, original Roman creations, and Greek too, still exist. If they weren’t, I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell you about them, and no one else would be able to do the same either.

Rome as a nation died, but another empire inherited it, the Byzantine one, and thus, the art. It became predominantly Christian of course, yet still a magnificent form as it always has been. Thousands of mosaics were created all over the empire, depictions of emperors, saints and much more.

The Roman mosaic art continued to be made even in the middle ages, but it’s last great period ended in the high middle ages. It was very popular when the Norman ruled Sicily, where Christian and Muslim art mixed, probably the only country where these two religions, always in the state of war, lived together in peace. Just like in Sicily, during the same period in Venice, this form of art didn’t go out of style.

As you already know from visiting these places or seeing them on shows, many churches all over Italy had their domes beautified by mosaics. What is also interesting is that in many cases, not only the interior was decorated with mosaics, but the exterior too, and glass tiles have gotten more popular for decorative purposes.

During the renaissance and baroque they went out of fashion, but of course there were still people who did them. Frescoes became more popular and replaced the mosaics in churches but thankfully, there were still those who preferred the previous.

In the modern era they still exist. They are not really popular with large buildings and there aren’t many professionals, but as I have already told you, mosaics went out of fashion a long time ago. But today they are still popular among numerous artisans and crafters. They make mosaics from a variety of items, even odd ones like doll parts, beads, photographs. And these modern mosaics can be found anywhere, covering almost anything you can imagine, from benches to bicycles. They can also be found on walls, but this style owes much to the video game pixel art and pop culture. Still, this counts as well.

All in all, this is a great form of art, and what is good, it’s doable, and you can have it in your own home. If you do not want pictures, because that may be too much for an average household, because much place is needed and it really doesn't seem like it is something that will fit in with the regular stuff, but you can still have some mosaic patterns on your kitchen walls, or in the bathroom. Most of us already have tiles in these areas of our homes, and thus, why not make them beautiful. Because, after all (this I have told you), don’t they look wonderful? It is art, it’s retro and it really looks vintage. If you are a lover of something like that, this will be great for you, if not, you should still consider it.

You will surely be able to find various examples of mosaic tiles on the internet if you are now, hopefully, interested in them. I have found out that many people have stone tiles on the facade of their houses, and you are maybe one of them, but why not get stone mosaic tiles? If that does not sound good to you, maybe you should stick with the indoors. Look up some glass mosaic tiles or even a mixture of glass and metal mosaic tiles. And all of them can go in different, all great-looking patterns. They are also made from many other materials like marble, copper, and even sea shells and wood. Yes, I found that hard to believe, but it is true. If you have some sort of a weekend cottage far out in the woods, wood mosaic tiles can really come in handy if you want to keep your house from wood in its entirety.

There are many ways in which you can use these and make your home even prettier or just a bit more different than most other homes, and this is certainly one of the ways you can do that. And, once again, after all that you’ve read… really… why not have mosaic installed in your own home? They will live up the atmosphere, they are durable, and they are easy to clean. What more do you want?

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