Mosaic is basically the art of creating beautiful motifs and patterns, with the help of colorful stones, glass pieces, clay and other such items. These motifs are also used as floor patterns and other forms of interior decorative art. Though the exact origin place of this art is untraceable, this pattern is often associated with Roman and Greece dwellings and cathedrals, because of its prominent visibility in the Roman and Greek culture. There are also oriental links of this art, which can be traced to Chaldea, Syria and Byzantium. Mosaic arthas kept emerging through the eras, in diverse forms and in various cultures. This is also, undoubtedly, the reason that it has remained one of the most popular interior decoration art worldwide. Read on to explore some interesting information on the background, history and origin of Mosaic Art.
Interesting Information On Background & Origin Of Mosaic Art
To understand the history of the Mosaic art, a chronological description of the art in various cultures, in different eras, is necessary, as the art was not born at certain point of time, in a particular place. As the art form gradually emerged with time, there have been several stages in its development to the current form. It is even doubted that Mosaic art emerged simultaneously in various cultures not even linked to each other or spread from one culture to another, through subsequent links. The popular belief says that once this art form became a little prominent, it was subsequently developed and disseminated from one culture to other, in various time periods.
Though any scientific evidence of Mosaic art's origin is unavailable, the historians link it to the orient i.e. the eastern world. They even quote some links to justify these points. It is said that some of the earliest manifestations of this art have been found in Chaldean architecture, dating back to about 2,000 BC. There, some columns have been found embedded with small cones of clay, painted later on, to make it an attractive display very similar to Mosaic. They also refer to the Mosaic motif panels related to war and peace found in UR, a city of Sumeria, as one of the earliest manifestation of this art. However, till this culture, the Mosaic art was limited to the use of clay cones and paints.
Egyptian Developments and Further Spreading
The other most prominent development that took place in context of Mosaic art was the fusion of glasses by Egyptians. Even now, one can get to see numerous such ancient mosaic decorations in Alexandria Museum. The earliest example of the glass fusion in mosaic can be seen in the ships, palaces and temples belonging to the Egyptian. It is said that Mosaic art, around this time, gradually spread in two directions, simultaneously. On one hand, it was discovered by the eastern world - Asia, Syria and Byzantium and on the other, it spread towards the countries, like Greece and Italy.
Mosaic Art in Greece
In Greece, the art of Mosaic gained a quick foot hold. The first school of mosaics was born under Master Artist Sosos, in Pergamo - the capital of Misia (Greece). Gradually, the art became so famous that it was used in the interiors of even the most modest homes. At that time, the use of colorful pebbles in the Mosaic motifs of Greece became popular. The 'ciottol', or pebbles, were combined in a manner that they provided contrasting colors, gradation of shading and volume to the figures created through mosaic. A thin strips of led was inserted in the plaster to give it an outlining. This method remained popular for a very long time.
Mosaic Art in Rome
In the capital city of Italy, Rome, Mosaic became a form of artistic expression. Its use became prominent in the interiors of dwellings and cathedrals. Initially, it was used exclusively for the decoration of floors. However, gradually, the need to create works of art that would persist over time emerged. Romans gave Mosaic a completely different definition - of being a long-lived and easy handled art. The most prominent use of this art was seen in their dining halls, where simple terracotta art was not suitable in terms of beauty. So, they concentrated on developing mosaic as a method of visual decorations that, contrary to paintings and terracotta, could be walked on and could be easily washed and cleaned.
Mosaic Art Across the World
By 4th Century, Mosaic art had spread in almost all the parts of the world. It was the stage when the highest level of perfection was attained in this art and it reached unexpected heights of popularity. The credits can be given to Greek and Roman craftsmen, who gained perfection in this art form. By now, the use of pebbles had stopped and instead, the small, highly colored and brilliant pieces were employed. At this stage, Mosaic art spread in the world, like 'fire in jungle'. Till this time, it was considered that Mosaic art, apart from being beautiful, was also eternal.
With gradual passage of time and discovery of several other forms of art, the Mosaic stepped down from the top most slot of popularity. It was also realized that the art form was not eternal. As the mosaics were conditioned by plaster and cement bases, there became subject to deterioration over time. Still, the popularity of Mosaic art did not vanish altogether. Even now, the art is used as floor motifs and decoration pattern on fountain walls, pools, ceilings and garden walls. Now, it is also combined with glass paste, shells, and enamels, to add to its brilliance. With time, Mosaic art has only become more polished and beautiful.