Having brought up such traditional technique as Batik, it’d be reckless to pay no respects for even more ancient craft — Mosaic art. It has made a long way to the present days not to be forgotten that easily.
Simple matching structural pieces together to fit the form was fostered by pragmatic goals at first. Eventually, it has laid the groundwork for the sophisticated mosaic art. Decorating the surface has acquired a modern twist, making this technique skyrocket!
Traveling Through Time
First mosaics are traced back to the 3rd millennium BC when they were found in Mesopotamian temple made of ivory, stones, and seashells. The tendency of involving the nature-based elements into the process lasted through Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire (but even back then craftsmen were making attempts to create the real pieces of art like pictures, original patterns, and mosaics).
These terracotta cones pushed into some background to stay were eventually called ‘tesserae’. At first, the compositions of them were mostly chaotic and carried the function of simple decor. The brightest example is pebble pavement decoration consisted of colored stones, put together. Later on, the Greeks turned this pragmatic technique into the art form, embroiled into creating images of animals, people, and nature.
During the times of the Byzantine Empire, the mosaic art had absorbed some European features and stylistic peculiarities. The most notable innovation was the use of ‘smalti’ — glass tesserae found in Italy, made from thick colored glass. Such basilicas presented mostly portraits of saints, biblical figures and religious scenes; they had some sort of plot to go through.
Vivid colors of mosaic art appear in the 7th and 8th centuries of Islamic architecture and take a new form. Mosaic art represents vast patterned spaces appear as parts of facades and ceilings. The diversity of materials is used in this case: not only the usual glass but ceramics and stones. What differs Islamic art from the other types is its distinctive bias towards strict geometry and mathematical approach without involving specific images.
During the times of the Renaissance, the majority of artists denied mosaic art as the form of creativity, opting for fresco painting due to its realism and flexibility. But modernists haven’t given up hope! First, Antonio Gaudi and his masterpieces from ceramic ornaments, then Art Deco designers and architectures with their mosaic patterns.
Back to the USSR
The facades of Soviet buildings were often decorated with mosaics. Monumental panels are still preserved in many cities of the former USSR. They depicted the heroes of labor like astronauts, miners, factory workers, engineers, and other ordinary people. Including a relatively small set of colors, Soviet mosaics were rich in details and meant to be an inspirational form of art, depicting the brightest future for people.
Modern Mosaic Art
Not forced by religion, governmental system or trends in architecture, mosaics is actively used in modern design. Some people consider it to be even a form of stress relief: collecting puzzles of tiny elements to soothe nerves. All in all, contemporary design platforms offer a tremendous amount of products for penetrating projects with colorful mosaic art. It’s awesome how the traditional heritage finds its reflections in dozens of other different techniques such as polygon and pixel art. Even if we take a step into interior design: there’re tons of interior solutions, embodied in the terrific mosaic art, creating the sense of exquisiteness.
As a wise person once put it: everything new is actually well-forgotten old. Sometimes it’s really revitalizing to add a bit of conventional art and give it a new beginning in the fresh perceptive.