Guide Mosaïque (FICTION) (French Edition)

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Because its granular, nonpolished surface is often preferred to the hard brilliance of other materials, stone is also widely used in modern mosaics.

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Glass , which first appeared among the materials of mosaic in the Hellenistic period 3rd—1st century bce , brought unlimited colour possibilities to the art. In floors, however, it had to be used sparingly because of its brittleness. In floors, glass tesserae were used for the strongest hues of red, green, and blue, while softer tints were rendered with coloured stone. With the development of wall mosaic, glass largely took over the functions of stone, producing tints of unsurpassed intensity and leading to a continuing search for new coloristic effects.

With little knowledge of the laws of optics but with immense practical experience, mosaic makers of the Early Christian period gave the art a completely new direction with the exploitation of gold and silver glass tesserae. Like a mirror, the glass from which this kind of tesserae was made had a metal foil applied or, better, encased in it. These pieces of mirror glass gave golden or white reflections of high intensity and could be used to depict objects of precious metal or to heighten the effect of other colours; but, above all, it was used as a means of rendering the light emanating from God.

Gold tesserae were first used by the Romans, in both floor and vault decoration of late antiquity. Initially, their role was simply to give a golden effect.

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Gold tesserae, for example, were employed to depict a golden wreath in a floor mosaic at Antioch c. Later, when this use of gold for imitation purposes had become more refined, some spectacular effects were produced in the depiction of garments. Silver was used in a similar way. Silver tesserae are also found in the silver jug and basin in the scene of Pilate washing his hands. Gold cubes were distributed among the ordinary tesserae to add to the shimmer of light in ornaments and background details.

To avoid an uneven gleam in the surface, the mirror effect was often moderated by setting the gold tesserae in reverse, so that the visible part of the cube is the side with the thickest sheet of glass covering the gold leaf. An early instance of the use of gold for depicting light emanating from God is in a representation of Christ-Helios Christ as the Sun God in a 3rd-century mausoleum under St.

The halo of gold, a feature so common in Christian art that religious pictures without it can hardly be imagined, developed in mosaic art in the 4th century ce. The gold background, signifying divine light, probably originated in Roman mosaic art, but the first preserved instances date from the advanced 4th century. In Italian mosaics of the 5th century, other types of background, such as a dark-blue ground or a more naturalistic landscape setting, were dominant. Only at the beginning of the 6th century did the gold background become the rule.

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In addition to this massive predilection for gold, the Christian East began to use silver to depict the symbolic light emanating from Christ. First, it was used for the entire disc of his halo, later only for the cross arms. The archangels were the only figures besides Christ for whom the silver halo was used. The light of God, appearing as rays from above in scenes of the Annunciation , Nativity , Baptism , and Transfiguration , was also depicted with silver tesserae.

Finally, silver and gold were used together in Byzantine representations of the infant Jesus, whose golden robes are highlighted with silver cubes the apse and south vestibule of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; both 9th century. In Christian mosaics, tesserae of mother-of- pearl or coarse-grained marble cut to round or oblong shapes were used to depict pearl.

Though pieces of semiprecious stones were among the mosaic materials of antiquity, their use was rarely dictated by the wish for particular sumptuous effects. Reduced to common tessera size, bits of this strongly coloured material served as part of the general colour scheme of the mosaic pictures. Objects like those of the pre-Columbian American Indian cultures, in which, because of its exquisite materials, such as turquoise and garnet, mosaic attained the status of jewelry have not been found in Western art.

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Among the materials that have played and continued to play a role in the production of mosaic, ceramic is the most versatile. Today, glazed or unglazed ceramic is used and is one of the strongest competitors with glass and stone. Ceramic tesserae are cut from tiles or, like much modern glass mosaic material such as pressed glass , come prefabricated.

Prefabricated tesserae have the advantage of a very uniform and smooth surface which harmonizes with glass, steel, and other new building materials. The most commonly used adhesive for mosaics was mortar , the function of which was in the 20th century largely taken over by modern, tougher kinds of cements or glue. In Roman floors, two to three layers of mortar preceded the setting bed that was to carry a tesserae facing.


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The first layer rested on a thick foundation of stone that prevented settling of the mortar bed and the formation of cracks. For wall mosaics the preparation was equally painstaking, and in many cases an application of a waterproofing of resin or tar preceded the laying of the mortar. There then followed two layers of coarse, roughened mortar, the stability of which was often improved by large nails that had been driven into the joints of the wall before the work of laying started. A third and final layer was of fine consistency and frequently, like the mortar for floor mosaics, contained powdered marble and binding elements such as pounded brick.

In a frescoed surface, the breaks between the different stages of the work can easily be detected; they are harder to discover in mosaic. Numerous underpaintings discovered in wall mosaics indicate that sketches , often detailed and with the main colours suggested, were executed on the setting bed to serve as guides for the disposition of the tesserae.

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Similar procedures are thought to have been part of the technique of floor mosaic. In church mosaics, rough preliminary sketches have been found on layers underneath the setting bed and, in a few instances, even on the brick wall itself. This kind of preparatory sketch, for which there are parallels in wall painting , suggests that the artist was trying out the overall scheme of the decoration before making a more detailed sketch on the setting bed.

Instead of laying the tesserae one by one directly onto the mortar, another method was sometimes used. The surrounding mosaic area was then set according to the ordinary, direct method. The indirect method was the one most used in the 20th century. In the workshop, the mosaic is first set in reverse with glue on paper or cloth and then applied to the floor or wall. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations.

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The Corvey Collection comprises one of the most important collections of Romantic era writing in existence anywhere -- including fiction, short prose, dramatic works, poetry, and more -- with a focus on especially difficult-to-find works by lesser-known, historically neglected writers. The Corvey library was built during the last half of the 19th century by Victor and his wife Elise, both bibliophiles with varied interests. The collection thus contains everything from novels and short stories to belles lettres and more populist works, and includes many exceedingly rare works not available in any other collection from the period.

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