August 3, 2004 9:52 AM   Subscribe

A million little pieces. The University of Oslo -- Norway’s largest and oldest institution of higher education -- has put together a very interesting page with amazing images of the (5,000 years old) dying art of Mosaics. Among many master-pieces (heh, sorry, couldn't resist the bad pun) we can admire the Empress Theodora from S. Vitale in Ravenna, the starry sky in Galla Placidia, the Virgin Mary and the famous Jesus of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, St. Peter in Hossios Lucas. There's also the St. Anna of Chios, the harrowing of hell of St Mark's in Venice. Scroll down, at the end of the main page there's a lot of good external links. (more inside)
posted by matteo (7 comments total)
Among my favorite mosaics -- Cimabue's St. John, and the Annunciation in Santa Maria in Trastevere by Pietro Cavallini.
posted by matteo at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2004

Cool! Great links. But as groovy as the pictures are, I'm not sure they convey the absolute awe that is inspired when you see these huge mosaics in person.

My grandfather laid tile for a zillion years after he came back from WWII. One of his grand projects was a mosaic that took him about a dozen years and covered the entire wall of one room. It was a scene of the village from which his parents and he emigrated, complete with trees, and tiny people....truly amazing. I was heartbroken after he passed away that his children, including my mom, sold the house before I could figure out a way to take the wall down and put it somewhere else. I'll always remember it, but I sure would have liked for it to have been preserved for posterity.
posted by dejah420 at 10:27 AM on August 3, 2004

The Byzantine mosaic tradition is a direct descendant of the mosaic artistry in the Eastern Mediterrenean. For example, the mosaics of the Minoan castles and homes in Crete are hundreds of years older than the ones in the FPP and just as splendid. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any great pictures online; there are some decent ones here and here (for the second link, scroll towards the bottom, to the "Photos of the sight" (sic) list of links).
posted by costas at 11:01 AM on August 3, 2004

dejah- It sounds like a wonderful piece, and I'm sorry to hear it was taken away from you. Do you know if the buyers kept it up? Hopefully you have pictures of it at least.
posted by kahboom at 2:21 PM on August 3, 2004

If i ever get the chance, the next portrait of me done will be as a Byzantine-esque mosaic. : >
posted by amberglow at 2:24 PM on August 3, 2004

Wonderful stuff. I was amazed when I visited Antioch to see the mosaics in the museum there -- you can see some in the US in Baltimore and the Met, among other places.
posted by languagehat at 8:12 PM on August 3, 2004

No one has time for good art anymore - but, most now excel in the art of the quick buck.

Cimabue's St. John looks strikingly modern.
posted by troutfishing at 9:13 PM on August 3, 2004

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