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Mosaic decoration through a fountain, mid-5th century, glass, gold, and rock tesserae, Thessaloniki, Museum of byzantine Culture


Sculpture in the round, the desired medium for photos of pagan deities, disappeared in Byzantium and was changed by its aesthetic opposite: mosaic. With numbers depicted versus a glimmering yellow background, mosaics imply an ethereal, heavenly realm. In antiquity, many mosaics adorned floors and so were usually made of colored stones that might withstand human being walking ~ above them. Due to the fact that the Byzantines placed mosaics on the walls, they could additionally use vulnerable materials: mother of pearl, gold and silver leaf, and also glass of various colors. Little glass cubes, or tesserae, were put at angles to catch and reflect the light, producing a sparkling, otherworldly atmosphere.

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Portable mosaic icons are among the most luxurious functions of oriental art. Very few examples room preserved, most of castle small; the icon of the Virgin featured in the slideshow above is among fewer than a dozen huge mosaic symbols to survive. Regardless of the areas of loss whereby the 3 wooden pink join, the high quality of this icon is clear from the use of tesserae of various sizes: largest for the background, smaller sized for the garments, and also still smaller sized for the meat tones. The costly method and vulnerable modulations of shade suggest that this symbol was made in Constantinople.


Banner Image: Mosaic icon of the Virgin Episkepsis, Constantinople, so late 13th century, glass, gold, and also silver tesserae, Athens, Byzantine and Christian Museum


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Mosaics

Fragment that a mosaic v the Virgin, Constantinople, 9th–10th century, glass and marble tesserae, Athens, Benaki Museum, Gift of Stefanos and also Penelope Delta

Founded before 454, the Stoudios Monastery was one of the most necessary in Constantinople, play a leading duty in the spirituality life of byzantine during and also after Iconoclasm. The mosaics top top the walls of the church to be praised by tourists in the tenth century and also thereafter, however only this fragment remains. The Virgin’s green-and-gold gloriole is a modern restoration.


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Mosaics

Mosaic the the apostle Andrew, late 11th–early 12th century, glass, gold, and rock tesserae, historical Museum the Serres

This dynamic, striding figure is the sole survivor from a mosaic that the Communion the the apostle in the apse of a church in northern Greece that shed in 1913. His beard and unkempt hair determine him as the apostle Andrew. Early photographs show that the full composition portrayed two pictures of Christ behind the altar, distributing the bread and also wine that the Eucharist come processions of apostles approaching indigenous either next of the apse. The subject is the liturgical tantamount of the critical Supper.

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Mosaics

Mosaic icon of the Virgin Episkepsis, Constantinople, so late 13th century, glass, gold, and also silver tesserae, Athens, Byzantine and also Christian Museum

The inscription He Episkepsis refers to the Virgin’s miraculous intervention in time that need. It likewise appears in byzantine hymns relenten her together “the sanctuary that the weak.” whereas Catholics and also Protestants normally refer to mary as the Virgin, Orthodox christians emphasize a various aspect, calling her the Theotokos (God-Bearer) or Meter Theou (Mother the God). Here, her melancholy gaze seems to forebode the fate that the infant in her arms.