Without doubt this is the book that has been direly missed in the technical-artistic world of mosaics and its publication now makes it possible to study mosaics from a number of viewpoints. It is a book that not only traces the origins, life and history of the most splendid ages of the mosaic, but also penetrates the shadows and reveals the dimmer reflections from darker ages; a book that approaches mosaics realistically, giving them substance, just as the protagonists and artists of ancient and recent times have done.
For these purposes it teaches the methods of producing mosaics, the behaviour of the materials (pebbles, shells, marble, glass, earthenware, smalts, glass paste, hard stones and precious stones) drawing on the assistance of technique, mechanics and chemistry.
For mosaic tesserae to become a mosaic they must be capable of attachment to floor, a wall or cupola; technically, mechanically chemically attached to a surface and also in a way that resists infiltration of water, abrupt temperature changes and even earthquakes.
Throughout the centuries the mosaic has enjoyed moments of great glory and likewise moments of oblivion. Its survival through time has indeed depended on human techniques, but also, and unfortunately, on the fortunes of war or religious dogma.
Nevertheless, the overall triumph of the mosaic has consolidated and reinforced the need to use highly specialised techniques in its production. It has also shown us that in addition to technical requirements, it will always be the artists ability to create images that makes the crucial difference. Seven mosaic tesserae can be used to produce just a line but they can also form an eye, a living eye that watches. What, then, is a mosaic and what should it be? To find out, it suffices to know how to look and to listen and then to realise that in order to create balance the artists knew how to unite and connect opposites, such as light and dark, movement and stillness, fantasy and reality, truth and fiction, warm and cold colours, relief and recess, space and time. Finally, when the balance is set up and working the two-dimensional mosaic becomes a three-dimensional space, so that it becomes living and so lives.
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