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The mosaic art

In translation from Italian "mosaico" means «combined of small pieces». This laconic statement conceals in itself the widest scale of colors, forms and materials the modern mosaics are made of. The mosaic consists of a set of images made from solid materials: cubes of gemstone, glass smalts, glazed ceramic tiles (sometimes they are of special form) or thin figured marble pieces («the Florentine mosaic»). The most important is the colored surface of the mosaic element, its thee-dimensionality and the play of oblique planes, joints and size of pieces, texture and relief of mosaic.

Mosaic is the most ancient type of monumental painting. Probably the first mosaic materials were stone placers featured by the sea waves, minerals of exquisite tints. The prehistory of mosaic art begins in the 3 thousand BC on the territories of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The multi-colored patterns were made of encaustic clay cones driven into the walls of brick-raw or the pictures were made of stone pieces. But the true monumental mosaic art appeared in Ancient Greece in the 5 century BC. The earliest mosaics made of multi-colored, smooth stones and small crocks were mostly used for floor covering. One of the most beautiful surviving examples of this technology is a floor of a small home bath dated the 2 century BC in Chersonese (near Sevastopol city, Ukraine).

Other, more difficult mosaic technology was the production of special small cubes from multi-colored natural stones. Such mosaic set had much more tints. In Hellenistic and Roman periods the mosaic technology was highly developed - the masters were able to create the complex thematic compositions. These mosaics were executed from cubes made of different stones, sometimes even semiprecious (malachite, lazurite, agate, opal and jasper).

During the epoch of Later Roman Empire the mosaic was used practically everywhere: in private houses as well as in public works. The plots were very diverse – from an ornament to the complex scenes representing struggling athletes, hunting, dances, theatrical masks, etc. The mosaic was of great value in Ancient Rome and we can see it in its name – «opus Musarum» that means «creation of Muses».

In the first centuries of our era the secrets of the multi-colored smalts (color glass cubes) manufacture have been transferred from Alexandria (Egypt) to Rome. The smalto had its flowering in Byzantium, and then came to Ukraine with the Christianization of Kievan Rus. One the most famous monument of world mosaic art is the Maria Oranta mosaic of Sophia Kyivska called the «Indestructible wall» - defender of city and Christianity.

After several centuries of oblivion the mosaic art has revived at the turn of the ХІХ century. N. Roerich has recreated the spirit of the ancient art and the specific smalts techniques in the Pochaevsky monastery (1910) constructed upon the project of A. Shchusev.

In soviet epoch the mosaic was used in exterior and interior decoration of different public works. The most widely used economic set was the set of ceramic tiles or of natural stone (mostly used on a shorter side of the domestic buildings).

Now the mosaic revives its new birth and we can find it in the premises of various applications: pools, saunas, private interiors, facades of houses.

The mosaic material perfectly combines with stone as well as with brick used in the architectural construction. The mosaic art has also very strong and durable techniques that can be used in adverse climatic conditions (humidity, bright sunlight, open air). There is good reason that the Renaissance artists named the mosaic the "present" and the «eternal painting».

Today the mosaic art is appreciated for the most exquisite and expensive monumental art technology, and also thanks to its durability and wide rage of colour. The «Gold Art Line» masters combine in theirs works the ancient techniques and stylistic devices, new materials and ambitious decisions not forgetting about the experience of many generations of mosaic artists.