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HISTORY OF MOSAICS

During the 4th millennium B.C. at South Mesopotamia that was inhabited by the Sumerians, we find the first kind of decoration with pieces of cockleshells, onyx and clay in a temple at the ancient city of Ouruk.

Mosaics History - Bellerophon
In West Asia Minor (Greek Area) at the city of Gordio of Frigia, we find the most ancient samples of floors made of pieces of rubble. Later on, during the first centuries A.C. we find floors with complex drawings made with white or black natural pebbles in Olinthos (Kassandra area in Greece) inspired mainly by ancient myths.

(Picture on the left: Bellerophon, riding Pegasus,
slays the Chimaira, mosaic floor of a house,
432-348 BC, Olynthos)

In Pella (Macedonia - Greece) during the 4th century B.C. we find floors made with pieces of glass

(Picture on the right: A deer hunt, detail from the mosaic floor signed
Gnosis in the 'House of the Abduction of Helen'
at Pella, late 4th century BC, Pella,
Archaeological Museum.)
Mosaics History - Deer Hunt

During the 2th century B.C. in Pergamus (Greek Asia Minor) we find mosaics made with pieces of stones, marble, glass in a great variety of colors and designs.

Mosaics have been spread from Greek Asia Minor to Italy and it was developed there, especially in Pompeii and Rome. Romans decorated floors and walls of houses, temples and baths, following a simple and 'monochrome' technique

During the Byzantine Era, the art of mosaics reaches its highest level of quality. Except floors and walls, artists decorate vaults and facades of temples and palaces. They use pieces of marble, natural stones, colored glass, even gold and silver.

Themes in this era are various. We find scenes inspired by ancient myths, decorative elements from sea and earth, scenes of hunting, faces, emperors, and most of all themes inspired by the Christian religion that was dominant during this period.

 

 


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