In bloom: Mosaic art exuding fertility and reproduction
The springtime season is blossoming into full-view with cold winter winds making their exit from our hemisphere to instead give the space to heavenly breezes, sun-kissed skies and an all over pleasant mood.
With the hour switched forward and daylight savings bringing on an imminent change in pace for the brighter, we bid the winter season adieu.
The spirit of fertility is coming to life while flowers flower before our eyes to reveal mother nature’s many color-filled talents in their varying hues. And so, apart from the flowery talk, we thought we’d enlighten you today with an eclectic round-up of mosaics.
Drawn from no specific time or place in history and handpicked from all over the planet, here are some artists alongside their mosaic artworks which we feel harness true reflections of fertility, both in terms of method and production.
Artwork: The Beauty of Durrës
photo credit: triqita.com
Hailing from a time before Christ at roughly the middle of the 4th century BC, the Beauty of Durrës is a polychromatic masterpiece. Celebrated as being one of the most important artifacts from Albania, it was primarily installed on the floors of a lavish restroom belonging to a high-end luxury estate, and then seized as a relic of World War II by the Austro-Hungarian army, who unearthed the masterpiece from the depth of the Varosh-quarter home.
The mosaic features the head of a woman who appears to be surrounded by floral elements within the sanctity of a flowing green garden. Said to be a Cretan goddess, she appears to be meandering through a garden of Hyacinth and Bellflower, with an airy spirit to her as if in mid-daydream.
Her broad features, luscious lips, and expressively angular cheekbones belong to a head that is large in scale, communicating a sense of dominance. And yet the artwork as a whole also brings on feelings of peace and tranquillity owing to the floral elements that surround. This is captivated within an elliptically shaped mosaic, which is roughly 9 square meters in size and comprised mainly of colored pebbles.
While the mosaic’s origins and the true artist behind it remain unknown, it is posthumously revered to be a masterpiece. The Beauty of Durrës has been meticulously relocated to feature at the National Historical Museum at Tirana where it is available for viewing.
Artwork: The Dream Garden
photo credit: www.incollect.com
Artist(s): Maxfield Frederick Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany
The Dream Garden, a massive glass mosaic mural that features at the entrance of the lobby area of Philadelphia’s famous Curtis Publishing Company, is the fine fruit of a collaborative effort between two masterminds from that era, illustrator and painter Maxfield Parrish and glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Both artists were commissioned by the publisher to design what is now considered a gem to the state’s heritage.
The mosaic is highly coveted by appreciators around the globe and was more recently at risk of being relocated to Las Vegas by an anonymous bidder, a move which was quickly reversed due to public outcry. The breath-taking mural is the assembly of hundreds of thousands of finely carved glass tesserae, piecing together a mosaic that offers more than 260 color tones to the naked eye.
The Dream Garden weighs more than four tons and is the composite of 24 panels which took a total of 6 months to fully install. It now hangs in all its glory as a 15 x 49-foot mural.
With 100,000 pieces of favrile glass adjoined to each other, the mosaic art is featured in the lobby room area behind a flowing fountain and recreates the scene of a flowing green landscape. Imparting feelings of serenity and grandeur, it is a must-see for anyone who chances to cruise through Philadelphia.
Artwork: World of Gardens
Photo credit: www.botanicalgardencenter.com
Artist: Jeffrey Bale
Contemporary Oregon-based Mosaicist Jeffrey Bale was praised by the New York Times in 2009 as being a master of his craft for his innovative pebble mosaics. As an avid traveler, his flowing landscape designs are the bi-product of a vast multitude of masonry styles he bore witness to during extensive travels around the globe, during which time he also borrowed key elements from the various cultures he was exposed to while collecting precious rocks and fossils to be used for future artworks.
His artwork is respected by environmentalists as it is essentially a clever method of composting natural elements, amounting to an eco-friendly art-production that flatters the surroundings of the garden space it is integral to.
Artwork: The secret between you and me
photo credit: mosaicquest.com
Artist: Atsuko Laskaris
This mosaic is a contemporary masterpiece by artist Atsuko Laskaris. The Japanese born artist is now a happy California resident who has received huge acclaim for mosaics that offer unprecedented levels of detail. This specific production has to it an air of mystery with an overwhelming sense of depth which cannot be overlooked.
Measuring at 69.9 cm x 48.3 cm, the stained glass mosaic is stunning owing to the levels of intricacy and detail that you wouldn’t typically find in this art form, suggestive of the enormous amounts of time that were spent painstakingly piecing it together to amount to the bigger picture. It imparts a strange mix of innocence, seen to be surrounding the face of a wondrous child and with an awkward sense of mischief as per its name. While there is no direct answer to how the title of the art-piece was conceived, it definitely adds more to the artworks glow, inspiring a sense of fertility, mystery and change.
Artwork: Magic Gardens
Photo credit: phillymagicgardens.org
Artist: Isaiah Zagar
Isaiah Zagar is a revered mosaic artist and widely respected name in the industry by virtue of having installed upwards of 200 mosaics that now neatly decorate the streets of Philadelphia as well as other international locations. The 78-year old artist is a self-proclaimed pioneer of his own unique method of piecing together mosaics and has been putting his talents into effect and on display throughout Philadelphia’s south street for a long time coming.
Active since 1968, his most celebrated work the “Magic Gardens” alone took no less than 14 long years to fully install and involved consistent hard labor delivered through the artist’s fingers spanning 1994 to 2008. His unconventional approach has made him stand out as a pioneer in the art as is especially apparent with his Magic Gardens production. While seemingly chaotic at first sight, the elaborate installation still has to it a sense of unity that is brought on while reading in between the lines. A mess of swirls and strange dabs of color spliced with random imagery and etchings shouldn’t be taken at face value as they are most definitely abstractions to start with.
Either way, the message – which the artist isn’t quite sure about himself, seeing as he didn’t work with one theme in mind – is strangely impacting nonetheless, as his mosaic art definitely adds color and life to the urban surroundings that it extends throughout. Tiles, mirrors, and unthinkable items normally cast aside as trash become the meat and potatoes of his mosaic art productions and installations, including but not limited to random items like popped tires, bicycle handles and abandoned cutlery. Overwhelming to say the least, this all amounts to a mosaic art installation that is quirky in its entirety yet undeniably beautiful in its essence, and guaranteed to speak volumes to the passer-by.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post and its springtime illuminations serve as food for thought. This versatile and multi-faceted artform has captivating appeal which can transform any environment into an enchanting habitat.