6 Intriguing Facts About Mosaics

Made of everything from colored stone or ivory to seashells or ceramics, held together by plaster or mortar, mosaics are one of the most intricate and mysterious decorative forms. The patterns range from the very simple to the very complex, and they can depict saints, geometric figures, mythological creatures and abstract designs alike. 

        Photo credits: Greek Reporter

Here are 6 fascinating facts about this art form that captivated everyone's attention:

  • Mosaics are nicknamed ´the eternal pictures´ because of their durability.
  • The world's oldest mosaic was discovered in Yozgat, Turkey. It is thought to be more than 3500 years old and the area is considered to be a Bronze Age Hittite city. Some of the earliest known mosaics were also found in a temple in Mesopotamia (nowadays mostly the regions of Iraq and Kuwait) dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. 
  • Greco-Roman mosaics were created using one of two techniques: Opus vermiculatum which used tiny tesserae (tiles) of typically 4mm or less. These tiny cubes allowed for very fine details, giving the mosaics the impression of paintings. These small tiles were often produced in workshops and then transported to the desired site. Opus tessellatum which used larger tesserae and was created directly on site.
  • In the 5th century, the city of Ravenna, capital of the Western Roman Empire, became the center of late Roman mosaic art. The second half of the 6th century brought incredible examples of mosaics, one of the best known being the portrait of Justinian I in Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna.

         Photo credits: © A De Gregorio—DeA Picture Library/age fotostock

  • The almost 800 years of Moorish rule in Spain gave rise to the monumental mosaics of the Grand Mosque of Cordoba. This phenomenal cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain's main attractions. The mosaic work was carried out by craftsmen brought from Constantinople at the request of Caliph Al-Hakam II.

          Photo credits: https://cordobamosque.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

  • Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi transcended classical mosaic works, choosing to go against the perfectionistic current, in order to produce truly revolutionary pieces. With his trademark ´Trencar´ technique, Gaudi merged traditional tiles with broken pieces of ceramics, creating beautifully colored mixes of materials which were often recycled from local factories. 

        Photo credits: uniquetoursfactory.com


Here at Floor Studio NDSM we´ve dedicated the month of November to this one of a kind form of art. Interested to see what we have to offer? Drop by our showroom!

Photo credit header: Assaf Peretz/Israel Antiquities Authority