August 25, 2012

mosaically speaking

I have always been fascinated by mosaics. The idea of these wonderfully complex scenes of gorgeous pattern and color being created from tiny pieces of glass, is breathtaking. Russian cathedrals are filled with these amazing mosaics, at least the ones that were important enough to survive communist era of destruction.
Demetrius of Salonica from Mikhalovsky Monastery in Kiev
Most icons of value were lucky enough to have been spirited into museums, such as this antique beauty now residing at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
walls of the Cathedral of Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg
Others were important enough to survive and even be restored after the destruction of WWII. The Cathedral of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one such amazing example.
detail of mosaic from Savior on Spilled Blood
I am always fascinated by the subtle gradations of these seemingly precise stones. To think that stone can so beautifully evoke cloth.
When I got up close to this mosaic I noticed all the different color glass used just to create the wood beam. Note all the blues and yellows and pinks to create the sky. 

I really loved getting close enough to see all the colors used for skin in the mosaic below. 

Sadly the mosaics above and below are only few surviving from the Cathedral of Savior on the Waters in St. Petersburg. They were designed by Viktor Vasnetzov, one of the most prolific Russian artists. The cathedral was destroyed in 1932 and these mosaics survived because they were dragged away and hidden by some very brave parishioners. I consider myself quite lucky to have been able to see these.
 After looking though all my photographs of mosaics I realized that some of my new small pieces are somewhat mosaic like in their construction. It maybe absurd to compare my work to this magnificence....but I think there is a slight connection.
work in progress
work in progress


Kristin L said...

The mosaics are gorgeous and I LOVE your details. Yes, there is definitely some of the subtle color variation, and a lot of the sparkle of the mosaics in there. :-)

Norma Schlager said...

I remember being in awe of these mosaics when I was in Russia. The detail is amazing,and yes, your small works evoke some of the same feelings.

Vivien Zepf said...

Oh my, the mosaics are gorgeous! And there is definitely evidence of their influence in your work.