|The History of Mosaic Art
The first mosaics were created in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Terra Cotta
cones embedded in the walls and columns of buildings in Mesopotamia are the
first know examples of mosaic art. These colored cones were laid in geometric
patterns and were functional, by adding strength the structure, as well as decorative.
Art, ca 2500 BC
In the Byzantine era, the 5th - 15th centuries, mosaic art was
embraced and perfected by the Romans. During this time mosaics were created to
cover entire walls and ceilings and important artist designed mosaics for the
great cathedrals, including St. Peter's Basilica.
Mosaic Angel in the dome of St. Peter's
Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
The Art Nouveau movement of the 19th century brought further change to mosaic art.
Artists, such as Spanish artist Antonio Gaudi, began creating works with
free-form curves encrusted with fanciful, brightly colored tiles.
dragon lizard from Antonio Gaudi's Parc in Barcelona, Spain
women in the early 20th century began a tradition of covering vessels with
everyday items and souvenirs such as jewelry, buttons and figurines. These
vessels, called "memory jugs", were then gilded or
bronzed. Memory jugs forever preserved the most beloved items and often
carried great sentimental value and family memories.
France, the practice of using personal objects as part of mosaic art was
extended beyond vessels to furniture. It was during this time that the name
"Pique Assiette" was first used to describe the mosaic art form. The
inspiration for the name was a French man by the name of Raymond Isadore who, in
1938, began covering his home with bits of pottery, china and colored glass.
Isadore devoted the rest of his life to the art eventually covering every inch
of this house and furniture with mosaics. His neighbors, who were less than
thrilled, began to mockingly refer to Isadore as "picassiette" which
in French describes someone who is a "scrounger" or
"sponger", as in stealing food from other people's plate. His
home is now a national treasure in France.
Isadore's home, Chatres, France
Los Angeles, CA Simon Rodia (1879-1965) spent 33 of his life building a
series of towers out of concrete and steel over 100 feet tall in his backyard.
Rodia covered these towers with fragments of glass, tiles seashells and other
found objects. Know today as the Watts Towers they have been deemed a cultural
Towers, Los Angeles, CA
Cinderella's Castle located at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in
Orlando Florida you will find beautiful examples of mosaic wall mural
panel art. These large 15 x 10 foot murals, 5 in all, depict scenes from
the classic story "Cinderella".
Each panel was designed by Disney artist, Dorothea Redmond and converted
to Italian colored glass mosaic pieces by mosaicist Hanns-Joachin
Cinderella's Castle, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL