Mosaic is an ancient form of art dating back to 600BC, and has been since practiced and embellishing our world.
What is mosaic art and how do you know it when you see it?
Simply put, mosaic art means an image or design made from small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. However, in today’s art world, the term “mosaic” has expanded to indicate more than one technique. The Italian encyclopedia Treccani calls mosaic, “decorative technique which, through the use of fragments (ordinarily small cubes, called mosaic tesserae) of natural stone, terracotta or glass paste, white, black or colored, applied to a solid surface with a cement or mastic, reproduces a determined design. That is the traditional mosaic technique we all know.
But what about the works that use the mosaic technique but do not use materials typical of mosaic? Can we call those mosaic art? “Modern forms” of mosaic are taking today the shape of images or paintings constituted of an assemblage of rubbish or any other material. And how about the works that are not mosaic but use the mosaic technique, like the sculptural works that are covered with mosaic?
Whatever the answers of art critics may be to this debate, mosaic art, whether made of the typical mosaic material or not, is a beautiful artistic expression of our times.